MPs to vote on prostitution ban
All-party support for bid for jail and fines plan as way of cutting human sex trafficking
PROSTITUTION could be banned under a proposal by Socialist MP Danielle Bousquet, UMP MP Guy Geoffroy and the heads of all the political groups at the National Assembly.
MPs are debating a plan today that would make prostitutes face six months' jail and clients facing a €3,000 fine.
At present prostitution is not illegal in France - although pimping is - but allegations of a high-class prostitution ring in the deluxe Carlton hotel in Lille involving politicians and police has hardened attitudes.
There are said to be 20,000 working prostitutes in France but their numbers are being increased by an influx of African and eastern European immigrants, some working under duress.
Geoffroy said the numbers working for themselves were "fewer and fewer" with "nine out of 10 being part of human sex trafficking".
A parliamentary report into the sex trade said that experience in Sweden had shown that targeting clients was the best means of cutting it down. Other countries, such as Germany, were also imposing new laws.
However, the sex workers' union Strass said that abolition would just move the problem into the back-streets and, instead, demanded rights for prostitutes.