Paying for sex should be made illegal, says Caroline Spelman


Caroline Spelman, the former Tory environment secretary, says buying sex from prostitutes should be criminalised.

She also called on more male politicians to enter into a discussion on the reform of prostitution laws.

Ms Spelman said she supports the Nordic approach, used in Sweden, Iceland and Norway, which makes it a crime to buy, but not sell, sexual services.

Speaking to The Guardian, she said it is important for more men to make their views clear on the issue.

Though many sex workers’ groups argue that making the buying of sex illegal could push trade underground and make the lives of prostitutes more dangerous, she said she thinks the Nordic law is “the right direction,” but that there needs to be cross-party support for it.

“It’s very important men come out and say what they think as well because it’s very emotive,” she said, adding that she was shocked by estimates that thousands of prostitutes in the UK had been trafficked and believed that this sort of exploitation should be addressed by reducing the demand.

Ms Spelman’s comments come a month after a cross-party group of MPs said in a report that prostitution laws in the UK should be overhauled to make buying sex against the law.

An all-parliamentary group on prostitution called current laws around prostitution complicated, confusing, and ineffectual, and urged the UK to follow the Nordic model.