Prostitution in France made legal under new laws, but paying for it ruled illegal.
The French Government will also set up a program to help prostitutes leave the industry.
Reuters: Maurizio Belli, file photo.
France has introduced new prostitution laws, making soliciting sex legal, but activities around it such as brothels and pimping have been made illegal.
Supporters say legislation will make it easier to crackdown on sex trafficking Sex workers say it will force them into underground operations Fears laws will allow customers to impose their choices, including unprotected sex.
Supporters said the legislation would make it easier to crackdown on sex trafficking, but prostitutes said it would leave them in limbo.
The changes have been met by rallies, with some people calling for the abolition of prostitution all together, and others demanding the laws be scaled back.
People who want to pay for sex could now cop a 1,500 Euro fine, which increases if they are found re-offending.
Those prosecuted would also have to attend education classes, about the harms of the sex trade.
Why are the laws changing?
The French Government estimates 90 per cent of the country’s 20,000 to 40,000 sex workers are victims of Nigerian, Chinese and Romanian sex trafficking networks.
MP Guy Geoffroy, member of the conservative party Les Republicans, said from now on the onus would be on the clients.
We won’t be able to declare anymore what we earn, we won’t be able to pay our social taxes nor our bills. Orlena, French sex worker.
"We have decided to reinforce as much as we can the fight against the networks trafficking human beings and against procurement," he said.
"And we have also decided to put prostitution customers in front of their responsibilities, because without clients there is no prostitution, without clients there is no human trafficking."
Some prostitution supporter groups said the new legislation would provide sex workers with greater powers, and help to encourage the reporting of crimes against them.
Claire Quidet, a sex worker supporter, said prostitutes will benefit from the overhaul.
"Prostitutes will no longer be seen as criminals," Ms Quidet said.
"When they are abused, they can file a complaint in a police station which they did not dare do before.
"The power relationship with their clients will be completely different as they will be in a position of strength such as ‘I am not guilty, but you, what you’re doing is against the law’."
New laws ‘force workers underground’
Elisabeth Lansey, from Friends of the Bus for Women, said she and others fear sex workers will be forced into underground operations.
"If customers are penalised, they will be scared, the girls will have to hide in order to practice their trade, which is legal, and as the one who might get into legal trouble, the customer will be able to even more impose his choices, including unprotected sex."
One sex worker, Orlena, said she and her fellow sex workers feared for their future.
"Tomorrow we will be in total insecurity," she said.
"We won’t be able to declare anymore what we earn, we won’t be able to pay our social taxes nor our bills.
"That’s the reason why we are angry: in a way the customer will be frustrated not to be able to come to us and we will be frustrated of not being able to work and send money to the state."
Rallies against the changes are continuing and growing.
As part of the new measures, the French Government will also set up a program to help prostitutes leave the industry.
The 6 Types Of Prostitutes And Where They Work.
A prostitute waits for customers at a popular bar district in Shanghai June 7, 2003. Reuters/Claro Cortes IV.
Business Insider’s Dylan Love recently had his expectations shattered when he reported on a Nevada brothel, but he was actually only getting a glimpse into one type of prostitution.
The sociologist Ronald Weitzer identifies the six most common types of prostitutes and where they work in a fascinating book called "Legalizing Prostitution."
Weitzer’s book looks at legalized prostitution in other countries and illegal prostitution in America, finding that some sex work is better for women than others. Here are the six types of prostitution, which Weitzer adapted from the book "Immoral Landscape: Female Prostitution in Western Societies" by Richard Symanski.
Independent Call Girl/Escort.
Independent escorts work for themselves in hotels and private buildings like houses, charge high prices, and stay away from the public eye. They likely advertise their services online, and they get to keep their profits since they’re self-employed.
Like independent call girls, employees of escort agencies work in private locations or hotels and charge relatively high prices. (Ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer slept with an escort agency employee, Ashley Dupré, for $4,300 a night.) Weitzer says these employees face "moderate exploitation" since they have to give a cut of their earnings to their agencies.
Broth els are dedicated locations where people pay for sex and can include saunas and massage parlors, Weitzer writes. The prices they charge are "moderate," and brothel workers endure "moderate exploitation" since they have to give part of their earnings to the brothel owners, he said. Licensed brothels are legal in parts of Nevada.