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Under the new law, pimping and brothels remain illegal, while it is legal to offer your body for sale but illegal for someone to buy it. France has made paying for sex a crime — a radical change of approach in a country where brothels were once legal. Some welcome the fact that, in future, the clients not the sex-workers will be treated as delinquents. The law also provides financial support for prostitutes who want to create new lives.
The estimated 40, prostitutes in France, eight out of ten from Africa, Asia or eastern Europe, can now offer their services openly on French streets or on the internet but it will be illegal to approach them. France becomes, after Sweden, Norway and Iceland, the fourth country in Europe to transfer punishment to the client. It was illegal to run a brothel or to be a pimp or to solicit in public. It was not actually illegal to sell your body or to buy one. Under the new law, pimping and brothels remain illegal.
It is legal to offer your body for sale but illegal for someone to buy it. Police unions have campaigned against the changed approach. They say it will be difficult to enforce because financial transactions between prostitute and client will be difficult to prove. The clients fear of punishment or publicity will nonetheless force prostitution further underground, police say. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
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