New powers to tackle the demand for prostitution

08 March 2010

The measures are part of UK-wide legislation in the Policing and Crime Act 2009. These new powers, which come into force on 1 April, strengthen the Government’s strategy in tackling prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Paul Goggins said: “Men who pay for sex with a woman who is exploited by force, deception or threats will no longer be able to use the excuse ‘I did not know’ – they will face up to £1,000 fine and will have a criminal record.

“Dealing with human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable women is a high priority and part of the Government’s strategy for tackling the demand for prostitution. These tough new laws will bring greater protection to those who are subjected to exploitative conduct.

“These new measures will also give the police more powers as they no longer have to prove that kerb-crawlers, either in a vehicle or on foot, are being persistent before arresting them.”


  • A number of prostitution measures come into effect in England Wales and Northern Ireland on 1 April as part of the Policing and Crime Act 2009:  Not all of these apply in Northern Ireland.  
  • The measures introduced in Northern Ireland from 1 April are:
  • a new strict liability offence that will make it illegal to pay for sexual services with a prostitute who is subject to exploitative conduct, which includes force, deception or threats. It will no longer be an excuse to say ‘I did not know’ and men who ignore this risk up to £1,000 fine and a criminal record;
  • changes to the law on kerb crawling and soliciting to remove the need for persistence or causing a nuisance before an offence is committed.
  • For more information about the new strict liability offence and to a obtain a copy of the public information poster to encourage sex clients to think about the consequences of their actions: