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French minister seeks abolition of prostitution in Europe

Last Updated: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 15:38

London: French minister for women is all set to organise a conference of experts on how to contain the sex-trade and human-trafficking.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said that she was seeking to meet British Home Secretary Theresa May for input from the UK, on abolishment of prostitution.

"Since the 19th century and the role of [the Victorian feminist] Josephine Butler, Britain and France have been the core countries in the international mobilisation against prostitution. I really hope that these common roots are still alive," the Guardian quoted her as saying in an interview.

The government’s spokeswoman wanted a meeting with May on how Britain and France approach prostitution and human trafficking.

In France, prostitution is not illegal, but activities around it are. Brothels were outlawed in 1946 and pimping is illegal.

In 2003, a controversial law against soliciting was introduced by Nicolas Sarkozy, then interior minister, making it illegal to stand in a public place known for prostitution dressed in revealing clothes.

Last year, the French Parliament adopted a resolution on the abolition of prostitution saying its objective was a "society without prostitution".

She said that the consultation would consider recommendations made last year by a cross-party commission of French MPs that it should be illegal to pay for sex.

The MPs had suggested all clients of sex workers, meaning anyone who buys sex from any kind of prostitute, would face prison and a fine.

Clients of sex-workers face prison in a handful of European countries, including Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

Under complex laws in Britain, selling sex is legal but street prostitution, or soliciting in a public place, is illegal.

Brothels are also outlawed, with activities such as kerb crawling. Laws on prostitution also vary widely across Europe.

In Germany, prostitution is legal and municipally regulated.


First Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012 - 15:38
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