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Prostitutes back on French streets

Minister says law that forced sex workers to move to isolated locations has put them in danger

PROSTITUTES could soon be returning to France’s streets as Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has confirmed the government is to get rid of the law that bans passive soliciting.

The 10-year-old law has forced prostitutes to work in out-of-the-way locations and to wear ordinary clothing – which sex workers’ groups say has put them in danger.

Hundreds of sex workers took part in a protest march in Paris at the weekend to call for the law to be removed and Vallaud-Belkacem said that it was part of the government’s programme.

“This will be done for a simple reason: the law on passive soliciting has made the prostitutes guilty when 90% of them are the victims of the human sex trade. To avoid police they have moved away from town centres and vital aid and become more exposed to violence.”

Introduced to combat human trafficking and sex slavery, the sex workers’ union Strass says that forcing prostitutes to leave town had led to a major drop in prices and an increase in violence but had done nothing to get rid of pimps and sex slavery.

A move to get rid of the law will be debated in the Senate on March 28.

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