Prostitutes in England and Wales should not be criminalised for soliciting and brothels should be legalised, a parliamentary group has said.
On Friday, the Home Affairs Committee called on the Home Office to “immediately change” existing legislation.
In England and Wales, the act of prostitution is not in itself against the law, but certain activities including soliciting in a public place and kerb crawling are illegal.
The Committee also called on the Government to delete previous convictions and cautions for prostitution.
Committee Chairman Keith Vaz MP claimed: “Treating soliciting as a criminal offence is having an adverse effect”.
He said it is “wrong” that prostitutes are “penalised and stigmatised in this way” and their criminalisation should end.
The Committee said it would consider evidence from countries such as New Zealand, where the law on soliciting and brothels has been relaxed.
However, campaigners highlighted to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that decriminalisation in New Zealand has not addressed human trafficking, which is “thriving”.
A spokeswoman for the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) said decriminalising prostitution “empowers” the people who exploit them.
Director of The Christian Institute Colin Hart has said, “sex should only take place between a man and a woman where there is a lifelong commitment of marriage”.
“Marriage provides the most stable and secure environment for sexual intimacy.
“When a society departs from this and turns sex into something which can be bought and sold, it brings untold harm on the individual and on wider society.”