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Please refresh the page and retry. F rance last week joined Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Northern Ireland on the list of countries where it is illegal to buy - rather than sell - sex.
Placing the legal responsibility on clients rather than prostitutes improves sex workers' safety and reduces human trafficking, according to supporters of the policy. Le Mouvement du Nid in France, which campaigns against prostitution, celebrated the legislation in France, thanking the "survivors" of prostitution who had raised awareness of the realities of the sex industry. Sweden in became the first country to make it an offence to buy sex, while leaving prostitutes able to sell sexual services within the law.
A government-commissioned report later claimed that the law had succeeded in reducing human trafficking: "The enforcement of the law, in combination with the laws against trafficking and pimping, makes Norway a less attractive country for prostitution-based trafficking than what would have been the case if the law had not been adopted," it said.
It dismissed fears that making the purchase of sex illegal would drive the trade underground, leading to more dangerous working conditions for prostitutes.
While prostitution is illegal in many of the former former Soviet and Yugoslav countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is a legal and regulated trade in Austria, Germany and Poland. Switzerland has attempted to regulate the purchase of sex by limiting the spaces in which it is permitted.