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Explanatory Memorandum to Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008

Article 37: Paying for sexual services of a child

7.85.Article 37 makes it an offence for any person (A) intentionally to obtain for himself the sexual services of a child (B) aged under 18, where those services have been paid for or where payment has been promised. The offence covers the situation where A pays for the services or promises payment either directly to B or to a third party (C) (for example where C is B's pimp) or where A knows that another person (D) has paid for the services or promised such payment. Where B is 13 or over, the offence will not be committed where A reasonably believes that B is 18 or over. (It will be for the prosecution to prove that A does not reasonably believe that B is 18 or over.) However, where B is under 13, A will commit the offence regardless of any reasonable belief he may have about B's age. Paragraph (2) defines payment widely. It covers not only a payment of money but any financial advantage. This includes the discharge of an obligation to pay (for example, B owes A a debt for a car but A agrees to waive the debt if B provides him with sexual services) and the provision of goods or services gratuitously or at a discount (for example, where A provides drugs to B at no or reduced cost on condition that B provides sexual services to A).

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