Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Prostitution: the customer now offender – The Point

After a final discussion on the text and almost two and a half years of parliamentary route, the criminalization of clients of prostitutes will be definitively adopted on Wednesday by MEPs. It is a key measure of the proposal of socialist law strengthening the fight against prostitution. A demonstration of text opposite prostitutes is scheduled the same day at the edge of the National Assembly. France has between 30,000 and 40,000 prostitutes, according to official estimates.

Since the first review of the proposed law in December 2013, it will be Wednesday of the fourth and final passage of the text before national Assembly, which has “the last word”. MPs and senators have not managed to agree on the main measure of the text, the ban on buying sexual acts, which will be sanctioned by a contravention of EUR 1 500 (up to 3500 euros in case of recidivism). MEPs have always voted in majority for such a penalty, inspired by Sweden that penalizes customers prostitutes since 1999, senators rejecting every time.

“An event”

After two examinations by both chambers, deputies and senators had failed in mid-November to find a common version on the occasion of a joint committee. Another pass in each House earlier this year has once again officially recorded the impossibility of an agreement, the Senate majority to the right, refusing for the third time this penalty, against the advice of the government. The topic was the subject of lively debate in public opinion, including the publication of a “manifesto of the 343 bastards”, where personalities have defended their right to resort to a prostitute. He even divided among political parties, in varying proportions. For supporters of the penalty, it is to discourage demand and consider prostitutes “as victims, not as criminals,” reiterated the Socialist MEP Olivier Maud, causing the text.

“I am proud that our country vote this law,” said the PS elected, seeing it as an “event”. “This legislation is essential for us to no longer consider as normal to buy the body of a person. It will happen to change attitudes, but it will still do the teaching, and train police officers, gendarmes and judges, “she warned. To his detractors, penalize customers “will endanger sex workers” who are more isolated, insists Sarah-Marie Maffesoli, Doctors of the World.

An awareness course

The subject was also fiercely opposed by associations of prostitutes, who defend their volunteer activity and are worried about a loss of income. “The consequences we are already seeing. Those who can afford it go to work in neighboring countries, others are looking for agencies, salons, intermediaries, who will play the role of pimps in order to put them in touch with customers, “said Morgane Merteuil, the Union sex work (Strass). In addition to prohibiting the purchase of sexual acts, the text creates an additional penalty, as awareness course the conditions of prostitution.

It also removes the offense of soliciting liabilities, established in 2003 by the Minister of the Interior at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy, and denounced by all the associations in the field. “We will no longer be penalized for soliciting, but municipalities multiply the anti-prostitution arrested,” says the Strass. The text also provides for an exit prostitution and social measures of course, a six-month residence permit for foreign prostitutes engaged in prostitution exit route. It also creates a fund for the prevention of prostitution and the social and professional support of prostitutes, echoed by the State to the tune of 4.8 million euros per year. For Grégoire Thery, the Movement of the nest, an association advocating the abolition of prostitution, “there is an expectation in the international law on this is immense.”


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