“French MPs vote to impose fines on prostitutes’ customers”

French MPs have voted to impose punitive fines on prostitutes’ customers as part of a controversial new law going through parliament aimed at helping sex workers throw off the shackles of pimps and organised criminal gangs.

The measure, part of an anti-sex-trade bill, was approved by a show of hands in the Assemblée Nationale in the early hours of Saturday.

If the rest of the law is approved, customers of prostitutes will face a fine of €1,500 for a first “contravention”, rising to €3,750 for subsequent offences, which will be considered crimes.

The proposals, introduced under a private members’ bill, shift the criminal responsibility away from the estimated 40,000 prostitutes in France and on to their clients. Prostitution is legal in France, but soliciting, pimping and selling underage sex are not.

France’s Socialist government introduced the legislation after examining a similar law in Sweden passed in 1999, which supporters claim has reduced the level of prostitution in the country by half.

The French bill has been opposed and supported by different groups of sex industry workers in France, where 90% of prostitutes are foreign, mostly from South America, China, Romania and Bulgaria. The vast majority are believed to be controlled by criminal gangs and international trafficking networks.

Supporters of the bill, including gender equality campaigners, hope that punishing clients and making prostitutes the “victims” of the sex trade will discourage the traffickers and pimps. Opponents argue the legislation cannot be enforced and will drive prostitutes into the shadows, making their lives more dangerous.

A group of 60 French celebrities, including Catherine Deneuve, who played a middle-class woman who decides to prostitute herself in the 1960s film Belle de Jour, have signed a petition against the new law.

The French sociologist Françoise Gil, who is opposed to the new legislation, said France needed to come up with a new model for the sex industry. The bill, she argued, was not it.

“We have to invent a system which recognises on one side the right of individual prostitutes to offer their sexual services for a fee, and on the other the battle against the [trafficking] networks at a European level,” Gil told Le Point magazine.

“To now say that prostitution is human trafficking is an ideological position. One thing is for sure, France is going down the wrong road.”

However, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, France’s women’s rights minister, who backs the bill, said the parliamentary debate and vote had “honoured our democracy”.

“Whether they [MPs] support [the bill] or whether they expressed reservations, each gave their full attention to the common goal: to respond to the suffering we have heard from prostituted people,” Vallaud-Belkacem said in a statement on Saturday.

The bill’s opponents have been accused of romanticising the so-called oldest profession in the world.

Vallaud-Belkacem added that the debate had allowed prostitution to be examined for “what it is and not what we imagine it to be”.

The new legislation, if finally approved, will create a €20m fund to help those who want to leave prostitution. Foreign sex workers who decide to leave prostitution will be offered a residence permit after six months.

The bill will be voted on in its entirety on Wednesday and be sent to the upper house of parliament, the Sénat, for approval.

From The Guardian


4 responses

  1. Governments: Get out of sex regs!!!
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

  2. What an idiotic comment. If ‘sex work is work’, as the vast majority of sex industry advocates claim, then it is an area to be examined and regulated as much as any other industry.

    Sex industry advocates always do this bait-and-switch; ‘sex work is work’, so you can’t talk about what it means, physically or emotionally, to submit to unwanted sex, or to be fucked by 30 men within 24h, but talk about prostitution as abuse, and suddenly it’s ‘sex’ again, and you’re an anti-sex prude for even having an opinion on the subject.

    Sex industry advocates cry ‘feeeedom’ whenever they talk about the sex industry (but are less willing to talk about the freedom not to prostitute, exit services in countries where prostitution is decriminalised/legalised/liberalised range from meager to non-existent), but nobody apart from a flaming neoliberal/libertarian/anarcho-capitalist would talk about any other industry this way:

    You think big pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable by publishing all their findings, not just the positive ones? You’re against freeeedom.

    You think supermarkets should have a good idea where the meat in their burgers came from? You’re against freeeedom.

    You think the deforestation of the Amazon is a bad thing? You’re against freeeedom.

    You think banks should be accountable to governments and the public? You’re against freeeedom.

    You think big agricultural businesses should stop using pesticides that kill off honey bees? You’re against freeeedom.

    and so on and so forth …

  3. […] I’m quoting myself here, in response to this idiotic dudebro sexpoz comment here. […]

  4. […] can read the posts he commented under here and here, to get an idea of just how banal the notes from his boner actually […]

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