not for sale logo

CARE launch not for sale campaign to highlight GB’s flawed prostitution laws

25th Feb 2019 - Rachael Adams

There is little doubt that those involved in prostitution are at constant risk of harm and exploitation.

Many of the women who find themselves in prostitution were abused as children, had difficult or traumatic childhoods, or suffered from some other vulnerabilities such as substance abuse, or were destitute or homeless.

To truly help protect those in prostitution from harm, it is vital to reduce the demand for prostitution as well as providing clear exit pathways and support for those wishing to leave.

One vital way of protecting those in prostitution is to criminalise the purchase of sex, which shifts the burden of blame onto the buyer.

But at the moment, in England, Wales and Scotland there is currently no law that says it is illegal to buy sex. The not for sale campaign aims to change that.

By contrast, Northern Ireland became the first part of the UK to make buying sex illegal when it introduced a new criminal offence as part of its Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act. Since the Act became law in January 2015, there have been several successful prosecutions.

Globally, other countries have also adopted this progressive approach with buying sex now illegal in: Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, France, the Republic of Ireland and Israel.

Evidence from Sweden shows that the law has been effective at reducing the demand for paid sex which in turn means the country is now a more hostile place for human traffickers.

CARE’s not for sale campaign aims to persuade policy makers in England, Wales and Scotland that the time has come for the rest of the United Kingdom to follow Northern Ireland’s lead by making it illegal to purchase sex anywhere across the UK.

CARE’s Press Officer, Rachael Adams, who will be running the marathon on behalf of CARE said:

“At CARE, we believe people were created for purpose, not purchase. But our current laws on prostitution do not provide adequate safety or protection for women across Great Britain.

“In Northern Ireland, we’ve seen successful convictions under the new offence and the law also sends a very powerful signal to wider society about the dignity and value of those in prostitution.

“It’s now time for the rest of GB to follow the progressive example set by Northern Ireland.

“All of the funds raised through CARE’s new campaign will help us make a real long-term difference and stand up for laws that better protect the dignity and value of people in prostitution.”

CARE’s Senior Policy Officer for Human Trafficking, Louise Gleich said:

“It’s time for Westminster and Holyrood to change our outdated laws on prostitution by following the evidence and Northern Ireland’s lead by criminalising the purchase of sex.

“This is why CARE is launching the not for sale campaign - to highlight the need for new laws to protect some of society’s most vulnerable people.

“There’s really great work being done by organisations to support and care for victims but if we don’t change the surrounding environment to help prevent people from being exploited then more and more people will be going through the same cycle.

“The money raised through this new campaign will help us in our advocacy work to see the law changed so buying sex is illegal not only in England, but in Wales and Scotland too.

“For too long people trapped in prostitution have been largely ignored by our policy makers: this must change.”


Notes to editors:

For all press inquiries please contact Rachael Adams on 020 7227 4708 / 07851 153693 or

Link to the campaign website: 

Link to video:

CARE articles:

CARE welcomes Republic of Ireland’s first conviction under purchase of sex law

Another country criminalises the purchase of sex

Criminalising the purchase of sex will help end human trafficking

First man in UK convicted for paying for sex loses appeal against conviction

Leeds’ ‘red light district’ branded a failure

Corbyn backs Nordic Model to tackle sexual exploitation

MPs tell Government paying for sex should be made illegal in Britain

Criminalise Purchase of Sex to Tackle Organised Sexual Exploitation say MPs

MSPs call for the purchase of sex to be banned

MSPs Call for Action to Tackle Commercial Sexual Exploitation


Europe has seen several moves to implement laws that criminalise the buyer – also referred to as the ‘Nordic model’. Sweden first adopted such a law in 1999, where it has been seen to have a significant impact in reducing the demand for prostitution. Norway, Iceland, France and the Republic of Ireland and Israel have also taken steps forward and introduced such a policy. In just over a year France fined 1,142 men for purchasing sex since the law came into force in April 2016, showing that it is effective in practice as well as on paper - French Supreme Court backs the law on criminalising purchase of sex and France: Over 900 people arrested for buying sex in first year of new law

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland became the first part of the UK to criminalise the purchase of sex, setting out the policy in its Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act.


At the SNP conference in 2017 the party passed a motion to endorse the Nordic approach to prostitution of criminalising the purchase of sex. The motion was proposed by Ash Denham MSP and seconded by Fiona Broadfoot. Fiona herself is a survivor of prostitution. The adoption of this motion by the SNP conference is a positive step forward for Scotland to tackle the exploitative sex trade, recognising that the policy champions vulnerable women and is proven to reduce demand – we hope the Scottish Government will now implement this resolution by changing the law.

CARE's not for sale campaign 2019


Get the latest updates
on our work