Clients of ‘women of the streets’ to be fined in France
by FFE EU News Staff
France’s lower house, the National Assembly, has just approved a law where those who are caught buying sex will be forced to pay a fine of €1,500. The bill is seen as the first law that would restrict French views on prostitution, which for many years has been viewed with tolerance.
Last week, 268 lawmakers voted in favour of the bill against 138. The current government under President François Hollande aims to suppress prostitution in the country. Minister for women’s rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said that prostitution in any form is not acceptable. One of the reasons was that it fueled human trafficking — the government revealed that around 90% of the 20,000–40,000 sex workers are victims of trafficking networks, a dramatic jump from figures in the past decade.
However, not everyone is happy with the reform. The bill has sparked street protests, and prostitutes have said that they may lose their livelihoods in the process. Critics have also mentioned that prostitution might just be pushed underground and not entirely eradicated.
Sex service is protected by the law in many ways in the Eurozone. In Netherlands and Germany, for example, registered sex workers are required to pay taxes but they also receive health benefits. In Sweden, the law targets clients.
If the bill will be passed by the upper house next year, France’s legislation on sex trade will lie somewhere between the three countries.