Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has announced that solicitor Maura Butler will carry out a review of Part 4 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.
The Sexual Offences Act 2017 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 introduced two new offences: paying for sexual activity with a prostitute; and paying for sexual activity with a trafficked person.
The act specifically provided for a review of these provisions after three years, to include an assessment of their impact on the welfare of those who engage in sexual activity for payment.
Minister McEntee said Maura Butler had significant expertise in legal practice as well as academia. “I am confident that she will conduct this important work thoroughly and efficiently,” the minister added.
Publishing the Terms of Reference for the review, the minister said it would include consideration of whether further measures were needed to strengthen protection for people who engaged in sexual activity for payment.
The aim of Part 4 was to ensure that people engaged in prostitution would feel free to provide information to gardaí without fear of prosecution.
While the precise format of the review will be carefully considered in line with current restrictions, it is expected to involve discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, including those engaged in prostitution and victim of human trafficking.
An online survey will be launched in the coming weeks, and written submissions will also be accepted.