Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Where is the solidarity for Somalia?'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Liberia's presidential election: Results trickle in as observers give thumbs-up

Read more

THE DEBATE

France's Weinsteins: Watershed moment in fight against sexual abuse?

Read more

FOCUS

A shield and a target: France's anti-terrorism operation 'Sentinelle'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc expose extent of sexual harassment

Read more

ENCORE!

Musical maestro Philippe Jordan on bringing passion to the Paris Opera

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Black day for democracy': Malta in mourning after top journalist is murdered

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Has the Weinstein scandal 'freed' women from their silence?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Europe’s newest face: Kurz’s election win indicates rightward shift for Austria

Read more

France

French lower house votes to fine prostitutes’ clients

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-04

The lower house of the French parliament, the National Assembly, has approved a law imposing a €1,500 fine on those caught paying for sexual services. The bill is expected to go before the upper house for consideration in early 2014.

The lower house of the French parliament, the National Assembly, approved a bill on Wednesday that would impose a €1,500 fine on those caught paying for sexual services. The bill is expected to go before the upper house for consideration in early 2014.

Lawmakers voted 268 in favour and 138 against on a bill that would introduce some of the most restrictive legislation on prostitution in Europe, a radical departure from France’s traditionally tolerant attitude.

Those seeking to pay for sex will now face a €1,500 ($2,000) fine, while the act of soliciting itself will no longer be punished.

Minister for women’s rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who has pushed for the reform, argues that prostitution in any form is unacceptable and has said the aim of President François Hollande’s Socialist government was to suppress the trade altogether.

Proponents of the reform point to a rise in human trafficking as a key reason for more restrictive legislation. Some 90 percent of France’s estimated 20,000 to 40,000 prostitutes are victims of Nigerian, Chinese and Romanian trafficking networks, the government says.

Those figures represent a dramatic jump from just over a decade ago, when only one in five prostitutes was foreign.

But the proposed reforms have prompted street protests, and some prostitutes say the law will rob them of their livelihoods.

Critics, including some prominent French celebrities, say stricter legislation will simply push prostitution further underground and make the women more vulnerable to abuse.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls and other government ministers have also expressed reservations about being able to apply the law as it stands. Hollande’s Green coalition allies voted against the reform, as did the opposition centre-right UMP members.

Legislation in France lies somewhere between the laws of the Netherlands and Germany – where registered sex workers pay taxes and receive health benefits – and Sweden, where the law targets clients.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
 

Date created : 2013-12-04

  • FRANCE

    French lawmakers back ban on paying for sex

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Protests as France debates prostitution bill

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French MPs wary of new prostitution law

    Read more

COMMENT(S)