Senate overturns soliciting law

Law had aimed to prevent public order problems, but campaigners said it put prostitutes in danger

29 March 2013

THE FRENCH senate has voted to repeal a law banning "passive" soliciting for sex.

The law, which came into force 10 years ago, allowed for jail sentences of up to two months and fines of up to €3,750 for prostitutes.

It was designed to prevent public order problems - but opponents said it put sex workers in a precarious situation.

Green party senator Esther Benbassa, who led the campaign for the law to be scrapped, said the law had forced prostitutes to become more isolated and had put them in greater danger.

She said "passive" soliciting had never been properly defined, leading to police abuse of the law.

A recent study by a human rights group found Chinese prostitutes in Paris were being routinely arrested on "arbitrary" grounds and harassed.

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