David Ford to scrutinise prostitution laws
Justice Minister David Ford is to commission independent research into prostitution over fears there could be "serious, unintended, consequences" if legislation criminalising people who pay for sex is passed.
The law on prostitution has received considerable interest recently, particularly due to the proposal within Lord Morrow's Private Member's Bill on Human Trafficking to criminalise paying for sexual services.
Earlier this week the police officer in charge of tackling human trafficking and organised prostitution in Northern Ireland came out against proposals to make it an offence to pay for sex here – believing it might hinder the fight instead of help.
Mr Ford said that prostitution and human trafficking, although there is some overlap, need to be considered in their own right.
He said independent research on the nature and extent of prostitution will ensure that legislation is based on sound evidence of the situation in Northern Ireland.