268. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a review of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 will be carried out in view of recent statistics on arrests for prostitution offences (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5030/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Part 4 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 provides for two new offences of paying for sexual activity with a prostitute and paying for sexual activity with a trafficked person. The Act also removes those who offer their services as a prostitute from the existing offences of soliciting for the purpose of prostitution.
Part 4 of the Act specifies that, not later than 3 years after its commencement, a Report will be prepared on the number of arrests and convictions in respect of the new offences, as well as an assessment of the impact on those who provide sexual services for payment. I am expecting that this review will be published in March 2020.
Inputs to this report will come from a number of sources. Firstly, the monitoring of investigations, arrests and convictions by the Garda National Protective Services Bureau. Additional information will be provided by the HSE’s Women’s Health Service and by civil society organisations working in this field. Furthermore, this year my Department is funding a number of research projects that will measure the impact of the new legislation on the welfare of women engaged in prostitution, the outcomes of which will also inform the Report.
Regarding the second part of the Deputy’s question on statistics relating to arrests for prostitution offences, I have requested information from An Garda Síochána, and will be in further contact with the Deputy when this is received.