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Sex workers speak out on how prostitution should be policed
Three sex industry insiders have shared their views of the impact of criminalising the purchase of sex in candid interviews with the BBC.
Eighty percent of the Northern Ireland public support proposals currently before Stormont which will criminalise the purchase of sexual services.
The new law is designed to curb demand for women trafficked into prostitution. But research has claimed a large majority of sex workers fear the proposal will put them at greater risk.


'Caroline' advertises a full range of sexual services on a leading escort website. For part of the week she is based in Belfast, receiving between one and six clients a day, charging £90 for 30 minutes or £150 for a full hour. "I only work during the day. I'm not interested in people coming out of pubs drunk so I finish at 8pm." She said she has turned away clients that have wanted to take drugs while with her. Working independently, without a "booker" or pimp, and working alone from a rented flat means she is not breaking the law.
"I'm a law-abiding citizen." she said.

Financial hardship

Referring to the criminalisation of paying for sex, she added: "Even though I would not be a criminal, I would be associated with criminals. I'm actually turning people into criminals, and that I don't like."
The well-spoken 46-year-old English graduate first considered a career as an escort after experiences as a swinger. But she describes the financial hardship, caused by her ex-husband stopping child support payments, as the "catalyst" that propelled her into prostitution.
She plans to continue working for a couple more years, and is currently studying for two diplomas that will allow her to change careers.

Exit strategy

She said: "The idea is to clear some debts I got when I was a single parent.
"I have no regrets about doing this job. It's not something that I'm desperate to get out of, but I feel it's something I need to be single to do, and at my age, maybe it would be nice to be with somebody."
She enforces a minimum age limit of 23 and her clients come from both blue and white-collar professions. She says some have disabilities, and others lack social skills to make contact with women.
She also claims she has been visited by virgins aged from 24 to 40, as well as single men, and men in sexless relationships.
She said: "When you're being intimate with someone you're more likely to tell them something."
She said many clients confided personal and emotional secrets in her. "There is a lot of counselling involved in this job," she said.

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