French lawmakers have set out tough new measures on prostitution, passing a draft bill in the country’s lower house of parliament, with 238 votes.
The law plans to decriminalise prostitutes, whilst hitting their customers with 1500 euro fines, in a bid to to curb human trafficking.
Just 138 Lawmakers voted against the legislation, but it still has its critics, with sex workers left worrying about the impact to their livelihoods, small protests have erupted.
One prostitute, wishing to remain unnamed said:
“We need our clients and our clients need us. The mafia (network) will rise. There’s going to be chaos. Frankly, I think what’s going to happen will be horrible. (This law) is going to multiply the problem by 10,000.”
But protest has not been reserved to prostitutes, some of those tasked with policing France’s streets see the draft law as problematic. Jean-Paul Megret, from the Independent Police Commissioner’s union noted:“(We’re going to have to) go in the woods, hide behind tree trunks and try to film people in order to catch them but the police doing that are normally the ones trying to close down on pimping (mafia) rings.”
Touted as some of the toughest prostitution legislation in Europe, the bill must first be ratified by the country’s Senate before it becomes law. A step not expected to begin until next spring.