Publications

Evidence Assessment of the Impacts of the Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex: A Review

Published: February 2017

Summary

During the passage of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, the Cabinet Secretary gave a commitment to the Justice Committee and to Parliament that the Scottish Government would commission research to investigate the reliability of the evidence available on the criminalisation of the purchase of sexual services, and how it applies to Scotland. This report considers the reliability of the available evidence on the impact of the criminalisation of the purchase of sex locating current debates within an overview of recent legislation and policy in Scotland.

The report constitutes a rapid evidence assessment of available evidence on the impact of the criminalisation of the purchase of sex and examines existing international evidence which draws predominantly on countries where legislation criminalising the purchase of sex exists (for example, Sweden (1999), Norway (2009), Iceland (2009), Canada (2014) and Northern Ireland (2015).

This review sets out evidence published in English and has drawn on a range of sources which are variable in approach and size. The Annex sets out the key empirically-based studies referred to in the evidence assessment. Additional material is referenced in the bibliography. A summary of the current policy and legislative context in Scotland is included and discussion of the background to the introduction of legislation on the criminalisation of the purchase of sex internationally.