CEDAW concluding observations 2019, paragraph 36

UN recommendation

Plain English recommendation

Government should: (a) Ensure that vulnerable women can access employment opportunities, housing and social security so they don’t need to resort to prostitution or ‘sex for rent’. (b) Take steps to reduce demand for paid-for sex, including through educational and awareness-raising measures for men and boys that tackle the oppression of women. (c) Change the law to decriminalise women in prostitution and clear the criminal records of women convicted for offences linked to prostitution so that they can look for alternative employment. (d) Ensure that specialist services to help women and girls leave prostitution are well funded and accessible. (e) Create opportunities in education and employment for women who wish to leave prostitution. (f) Conduct and use research from across the UK to identify changes to policy and laws relating to prostitution. (g) For cases involving under 18s, change the law to place the burden of proof on the person paying for sex.

Original UN recommendation

The Committee recommends that the State: (a) Take effective measures to ensure that women in vulnerable situations have effective access to employment opportunities, housing and social security so that they do not need to resort to prostitution or “sex for rent”. (b) Take effective measures to reduce demand for commercial sex, including by carrying out educational and awareness-raising measures targeted at men and boys and focused on combating all notions of subordination and objectification of women. (c) Revise legislation to decriminalize women in prostitution and clear the criminal records of women who have been convicted for offences related to prostitution to enable them to seek alternative forms of employment. (d) Ensure the availability of specialist services, which are adequately funded, inclusive and accessible, to assist women and girls to exit prostitution. (e) Create educational and employment opportunities for women who wish to exit prostitution. (f) Undertake research into the prevalence and nature of prostitution in Scotland and Northern Ireland, in addition to the research that is currently underway in England and Wales, to identify necessary changes to legislation and policy; (g) Revise its legislation to shift the burden of proof from the prosecution to the purchaser of sexual services for cases involving minors, as previously recommended (CEDAW/C/GBR/CO/7, para.41).

Date of UN examination


UN article number

6 (trafficking and sexual exploitation)

Last updated on 11/09/2019