2022 Assembly


Republic of Ireland introduces legislation making it illegal to pay for sex


Ireland joins other European Union member States by introducing legislation which makes it illegal now in Ireland, to pay for sex.
Minister for justice, Ms. Frances Fitzgerald published heads of a new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014 on November 27th, 2014. The Bill proposes wide ranging reforms of the law, including stronger sanctions which will apply to a wide range of sex offences, ranging from sexual predators of minors, harassment of victims & the illegal use of technology and communications to target minors for sexual exploitation, as well as sexual exploitation of trafficked persons. In total, there are 62 different measures in the legislation.
Purchasing sexual services from a prostitute will be made illegal under the new laws and it will be a more serious offence to purchase sexual services from a victim of trafficking. The legislation will not criminalise prostitutes, following the Scandinavian model of penalising the “buyer” but not the “seller.” The government’s decision brings Ireland into line with the Nordic Countries, Canada, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the French National Assembly and Northern Ireland which will introduce similar laws in 2015.
Knowingly purchasing sex from a trafficked person will be an offence carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison. The legislation allows for sex offenders to be electronically tagged in exceptional circumstances.
Full information on the legislation can be read at