MSP to press ahead with bid to outlaw paying for sex

A Labour MSP has vowed to press ahead with new laws to criminalise paying for sex, but her hopes for fast-tracking the proposals have been dashed.

Rhoda Grant says her Purchase of Sex Bill would “reduce demand” and make Scotland an “unattractive market for prostitution”.

She wanted to fast-track the legislation without a consultation, arguing that a previous attempt to pass such a law meant that the issues had already been aired.


But Holyrood’s Justice Committee rejected the plea, ruling that a 12-week consultation on the measures must be held.

“I look forward to hearing the responses to the further consultation on these proposals,” the Highlands and Islands MSP said.

“Overwhelmingly, the feedback that I have received to date makes clear that reducing the demand for prostitution can be achieved by making the purchasing of sex illegal.


“I look forward to the parliament considering more consultation feedback in the coming months and a full debate on my proposals that will protect Scottish women.”

Although practices such as running a brothel and kerb crawling are illegal in Scotland, it is not currently an offence to pay another person for sex.

Critics of the proposed legislation say that criminalising those who pay for sex would drive prostitution deeper underground.


A previous attempt for a total ban on prostitution was introduced by the former Labour MSP Trish Godman but was not adopted.

She wanted to introduce three new offences for the purchase, advertising and facilitating of sex.