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There are two important things to note. Firstly, decriminalisation is not legalisation. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that the decriminalisation of sex work would encourage human trafficking; in fact, several international anti-trafficking organisations believe that decriminalisation of sex work would have a positive role to play in the fight against trafficking.
Currently in England, Wales and Scotland, prostitution itself the exchange of sexual services for money between one seller and one buyer is legal, but a number of related activities, including soliciting in a public place, kerb crawling, owning or managing a brothel, pimping and pandering, and more than one sex worker working together, are crimes.
The law in Northern Ireland is different to the rest of the UK as it has conflated sex work and human trafficking into one issue. Credible evidence shows that where sex workers are able to negotiate safer sex, HIV risk and other vulnerabilities can be better managed and greatly reduced. There have been proposals for a so-called Nordic Model there are several types of Nordic Model but most approach this by criminalising the buyer and not the seller in order to reduce demand for sex workers.
This model built on the assumption that sex work exists because of demand, but the reality is that the majority of sex workers enter the sex industry for socio-economic reasons and this will be unchanged by any reduction in demand. A Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice report highlighted both the limited and contested nature of existing evidence on the impacts of the criminalisation of the purchase of sex and the consensus for the need decriminalise individuals involved in prostitution.