• France edition
 
Prostitutes may soon return to Paris streets

Prostitutes may soon return to Paris streets

Published: 19 Mar 2013 09:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 19 Mar 2013 09:25 GMT+01:00

Prostitutes are hardly a rarity on the streets of Paris, but a new development may mean that many more will be plying their trade in the capital in future. Minister of Women's Rights Najat Belkacem-Vallaud promised this week to push ahead with a move to scrap legislation that made passive soliciting for sex illegal.

The law, first introduced in 2003, pushed many prostitutes out of city centre streets to more isolated locations. Many were forced to wear casual clothing, like jeans and trainers, to disguise their activity.

French President François Hollande had promised to overturn the law as part of his election manifesto last year.

“We will stick to this commitment for one simple reason, because the introduction of this crime of passive soliciting has made the prostitutes the guilty party, when in fact 90 percent of them are victims of human trafficking,” Belkacem told French daily Le Parisien.

Her statement follows a protest in the French capital at the weekend by sex workers demanding an end to the 10-year-old law, which they say has exposed prostitutes to more violence and increased the price of sexual services.

“To escape the attention of the police, they go far away from city centres and the accompanying support structures, and they are more exposed to violence,” Belkacem acknowledged.

The move could be seen as a change in heart by the 35-year-old minister towards ‘the oldest profession in the world’, after she previously said her main mission after being appointed to government was to make prostitution "disappear".

The controversial law was brought in in 2003 by the government of then President Jacques Chirac and banned anyone from “publicly soliciting others to encourage them to exchange money for sex, by any means, even passively.” Those caught in the act faced fines of €3,750 and a spell behind bars.

The repeal of the law will be debated in the Senate on March 28th.

“Deleting the crime does not mean impunity for human traffickers,” Belkacem vowed. “We will take strong action against these networks.”

The minister promised there would be more legislation with regard to prostitution before the end of the year.

“We will work with a number of lawmakers, left and right, to develop a full, comprehensive law on prostitution and human trafficking,” she said.

Belkacem added that “targeting the clients” was one of the options on the table.

In December 2011 a motion was passed in the French parliament that supported criminalising the act of paying for sex.

The motion said France should seek “a society without prostitution” and that sex work “should in no case be designated as a professional activity”.

Fines of €3,000 and prison sentences of up to six months were put forward as appropriate punishments for clients caught exchanging money for sex.

However, a bill was never put before lawmakers.

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Plane with 51 French on board 'crashes in Mali'
The latest map released by officials in Burkina Faso, showing the presumed site where the plane is believed to have come down. Photo: Airport of Ougadougou

Plane with 51 French on board 'crashes in Mali'

Aviation officials in Algeria have said the missing Air Algérie-operated flight carrying 110 passengers and six crew members has crashed in northern Mali. The airline has said there were 51 French passengers on board the plane. READ  

French cops find arsenal on London-bound bus
French border police find an arsenal of weapons on board a Eurolines bus. Photo: Sludge Gulper/FLickr

French cops find arsenal on London-bound bus

French border police seized a small arsenal of firearms and ammunition they found stowed aboard a bus that was passing through France on its way to London, French media reported on Thursday. Officers are still looking for the owner of the weapons. READ  

France is among EU's biggest public spenders
France is one of Europe's biggest spenders, but its not getting great services. Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP

France is among EU's biggest public spenders

The French government is the third biggest public spender in Europe, yet the quality of the health, pension and education services its paying for are significantly lower than other EU countries. A new government study explains why. READ  

Gaza crisis
France to release €11m in aid for Palestinians
An injured Palestinian is rushed to hospital in Gaza for treatment. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP

France to release €11m in aid for Palestinians

BREAKING NEWS: France is to hand over €11 million worth of aid for Palestinians in Gaza, President François Hollande announced on Thursday morning after meeting with several NG0s at the Elysée Palace. READ  

Report - Jobs for robots
'Half of jobs in France' under threat from robots
Half of the jobs in France could soon be carried out by robots. Better think about retraining. Shutterstock

'Half of jobs in France' under threat from robots

It might be a good time to think about a career change, because according to a report from a leading Brussels think-tank, half of the jobs currently being done in France could be taken over by robots in the next 20 years. READ  

Tête-à-tête - Part 2
'Foreigners pay taxes so they should get the vote'
"This is not about halal meat in schools, it's about democracy" Should non-EU foreigners get the right to vote in France? Photo: Marc Lagneau/Flickr

'Foreigners pay taxes so they should get the vote'

In the second part of our tête-a-tête on whether foreigners in France should be given the vote, we hear from one of the leaders of the campaign calling for it to happen, who insists "it's about democracy, not bringing in halal meals in schools". READ  

IN IMAGES: Paris protest in support of Palestinians
Members of a Jewish anti-zionist group joined protesters on Wednesday to call for an end to Israel's offensive in Gaza. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard

IN IMAGES: Paris protest in support of Palestinians

Up to 25,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Paris on Wednesday to protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Here's a selection of images from the rally, that took place amid tight security. READ  

UBS bank 'charged with tax fraud' in France
UBS bank has been charged with tax fraud in France, sources say, for helping French nationals hide money in Swiss accounts. Photo: AFP

UBS bank 'charged with tax fraud' in France

Swiss bank UBS was on Wednesday charged with tax fraud in Paris for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a judicial source said. READ  

Paris: Thousands march in pro-Palestinian demo
Thousands of protesters hit the streets of Paris to oppose Israel's Gaza incursion. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Paris: Thousands march in pro-Palestinian demo

Thousands marched through Paris on Wednesday to denounce Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza amid tight security. The demo passed off peacefully with many protesters expressing their anger with the French government for not doing enough to halt the bloodshed in the Middle East. READ  

Lawmakers back redrawn map of France
French lawmakers have approved a redrawn map of France. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Lawmakers back redrawn map of France

Legislation that would redraw the map of France won overwhelming support on Wednesday from the country's lower house, the National Assembly. It's part of a plan reduce France's costly and cumbersome bureaucracy. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Why you should think twice about feeding stray cats in France
National
And the new redrawn map of France will look like...?
Politics
Is French President François Hollande about to tie the knot?
International
Want a long-term visa? You may soon have to take a French test
International
Votes for foreigners: 'France would be giving up its sovereignty'
National
VIDEO: Stuntman jumps onto a moving Paris metro... and survives
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Gallery
Paris in Summer: Ten things to do on a shoestring
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se