The Effect of the Sex Buyer Law on the Market for Sex, Sexual Health and Sexual Violence

The Effect of the Sex Buyer Law on the Market for Sex, Sexual Health and Sexual Violence

Speaker: Peter Backus, University of Manchester

Abstract: In 2015 Northern Ireland criminalized the purchasing, but not the selling of sex, making it the only part of the United Kingdom to criminalize the sex market. This approach to sex market regulation has gained popularity among policy makers around the world over the past two decades, but little is known about its impact.

In this paper we study the effects of this unusual sub-national change in sex market regulation on the market for sex, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual violence. Using newly constructed data sets we show that the new law had a large, though temporary, negative effect on the number of recorded sex transactions, a modest effect on STIs in women and a positive effect on police recorded instances of sexual violence committed against women in Northern Ireland.

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