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Prostitution: how can we tackle inequalities and harm?

18 July 2019

The Women and Equalities Committee launches a new inquiry into prostitution.

Purpose of the inquiry

The Women and Equalities Committee is looking to:

  • What harms are associated with buying and selling sex?
  • How effective are Government policies in tackling this?
  • What more could be done?

The Committee is also interested in hearing about how those with specific protected characteristics under the Equality Act or other vulnerabilities are affected.

We will look at prostitution with a focus on inequalities and harm

Committee Chair Maria Miller said:

“This inquiry presents an important opportunity.

Previous reviews of law and policy have focussed on the important issues of reforming the criminal law and which legislative model is most effective.

This inquiry casts the net wider, and we will look at prostitution with a focus on inequalities and harm.

We want to look at how prostitution impacts different groups, and how policy and services could be tailored to address particular kinds of inequality and harm.

All women – indeed, anyone  negatively impacted by prostitution - must have equal access to safety and justice.

We need to bring some new ideas to this debate, and we particularly welcome views from those who are or have been involved in prostitution.”

Send us your views

The Committee is keen to hear views from organisations and is particularly interested in receiving submissions which address:

  • What, if any, harms associated with buying and selling sex? Who is affected? How?
  • How does buying and selling sex affect attitudes towards women more widely?
  • What local initiatives are you aware of that address these harms? Are they effective? Why?
  • What, if any, are the challenges for those facing harm in accessing services (for example, healthcare; support services; advice; exit services)? What needs to change?
  • What relevance does the Public Sector Equality Duty have for the way that public authorities address prostitution in their area?
  • How does the law currently treat paying for sex? How could law and policy be improved to address harm?   
  • How effective are different international approaches at addressing any harms associated with buying and selling sex?

The closing date for written submissions is Friday 20 September.

Please use the written submission form.

Further information

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