Canada, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Northern Ireland. What is it exactly that these countries have in common?
These are the countries that have laws against those paying for sex as opposed to criminalizing the woman working as a prostitute.
Last month, Ireland joined this list of countries, making it a crime to buy sex, punishable with up to a 500 euro fine for first offenses and 1,000 euros for a second. If the woman has been trafficked, the offender can serve up to five years in jail.
“This law will, for the first time in our history, firmly place legal responsibility on the exploiters rather than the exploited,” says one campaigner. “It will have the effect of educating future generations…as to the simple wrongfulness of buying your way inside someone else’s body and it will firmly frame prostitution as the act of violence that it is.”
While some say this new legislation will simply drive prostitution underground, putting workers at a greater risk, the data from Norway and Sweden do not support this.
The law also places a greater emphasis on preventing child exploitation and pornography.
You can read more about this new legislature here.