Northern Ireland

Police in NI make first arrest under new offence of paying for sex

Man driving car Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Anyone caught breaking the new law could face up to a year in prison and a fine of £1,000

A man has been arrested by police under the new offence of paying for sex in Northern Ireland.

In June, legislation which made it a crime to pay for sex came into effect.

Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to ban the payment for sexual services.

Police said the man was arrested last month during a raid on a suspected brothel but would not give any further details.

Details of the arrest came to light while the Chief Constable George Hamilton was addressing a meeting of Northern Ireland's policing board.

Paid-for consensual sex had previously been legal in Northern Ireland although activities such as kerb crawling, brothel keeping and pimping were against the law.

Legislation making it illegal to purchase sexual services was passed last year by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Anyone caught breaking the new law could face up to a year in prison and a fine of £1,000.

Northern Ireland followed Sweden and Norway which have already passed legislation criminalising men who pay for sex.

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