France May Crack Down on Johns to Stop Sex Trafficking

Clients, not hookers, target of bill aimed at freeing trapped women
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 14, 2011 1:00 AM CDT
A prostitute stand in a Paris street earlier this year.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – France is considering making prostitution illegal—but by cracking down on clients, not hookers. Cops may fine or jail Johns in a bid to combat human trafficking. Experts believe 80% of some 20,000 sex workers in France are foreigners forced into the work by traffickers. "There is no such thing as freely chosen and consenting prostitution," said France's social minister. "The sale of sexual acts means women's bodies are made available for men, independently of their wishes." Penalizing clients "is to make them understand that they are participating in a form of exploitation of the vulnerability of others," said a government report.

Only Sweden, Iceland, and Norway have similar laws in Europe, according to the Telegraph. Prostitution is not illegal in France, but brothels, pimping, and paying for sex with a minor are illegal. Under the new measure, expected to come before parliament next year, Johns could face fines as high as $3,800. A French group campaigning to end prostitution hailed the plan. "For once we're talking about clients," said a spokeswoman. But a French actor who boasts of frequenting prostitutes complained: "First it was immigrants, now it's prostitutes. This is disdainful of individual liberties. Client or customer, everyone does what they like with their body."

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |