The Department of Justice and Equality has pursuant to section 27 of The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 commissioned an Independent Expert to review the operation of Part 4 of that Act, which deals with Purchase of Sexual Services.

The existing offences of soliciting for the purpose of prostitution were removed in The Sexual Offences Act 2017 (The Act) with respect to those persons who offer their services as a prostitute.  One purpose of the measures introduced in the Act was to provide additional protection to persons involved in prostitution, especially vulnerable persons and victims of human trafficking. The Act allows them to provide information to the Gardaí, for instance where they have been subjected to violence by clients, without fear of prosecution for selling sexual services.

Part 4 of the Act introduced two new offences namely paying for sexual activity with a prostitute and paying for sexual activity with a trafficked person.

The Act was commenced in March 2017 and it includes a provision that a review would take place three years following its commencement.

The intent and goal of the legislation is to protect vulnerable persons. In this context, the review will include an assessment of the impact of the operation of Part 4 of the Act on the safety and well-being of persons who engage in sexual activity for payment, as well as consideration of whether further measures are needed to strengthen protection for persons who engage in sexual activity for payment.


What we are publicly consulting on?

In line with Government policy on public consultation, the Department wants to provide an opportunity for people to give their views on their knowledge of:


What will we do with your response?


How you can have your say

Please complete the general public consultation survey here: Consultation Survey (the survey will take approximately 10 - 15 minutes to complete).  The survey is also available in a number of languages.  Please click on your preferred language to complete the survey: French, Spanish, Slovak, Romanian, Latvian, Portuguese, Russian, Yoruba.

The closing date for completion of the survey is 19 September 2020.


Other consultation opportunities that you may participate in

The Independent Expert will conduct other, targeted consultations as outlined in the Terms of Reference, as the Review progresses. Details of these will be notified here at the appropriate time.

Individuals and stakeholders are now invited to make a written submission, addressing the Terms of Reference, to before 19 September 2020.


Desired Outcome

The review will conclude with the publication of the Independent Expert’s report which will laid before each House of the Oireachtas.


Related Legislation

Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 - Revised - Updated 30 June 2017

Criminal Law (Sexual_Offences) Act 2017