France and Germany criminalize clients of prostitution

ECPM is glad to see that the French Assembly has chosen to make paid sex services punishable by law for the client. In the same week, the German government (where prostitution is legal) chose to make their prostitution law stricter. Clients will now be punishable by law when visiting victims of forced prostitution.

The French Assembly has passed a human rights law to combat the prostitutional system by equating the purchase of a sexual act with direct support of pimping, organized crime and sex trafficking. Clients of prostitutes can now be fined by amounts up to 3500 euros. The law also provides assistance to prostituted individuals by offering access to financial compensation for victims of prostitution and trafficking. It also mandates the implementation of a national exit policy to give victims access to social services. Furthermore, temporary residency permits will be made available to foreign victims of sex trafficking.

In Germany, the new law states that any client of unvoluntary prostitutes is punishable by prison sentences ranging in duration from three months up to five years. The law is meant to protect vulnerable victims of human trafficking and others who are unvoluntarily working in prostitution. This method, put into force in July 2017, will effectively address sexual exploitation and hopefully help reduce the demand for sexual services.

ECPM welcomes these developments. We have urged since long that the best solution to combat human trafficking is to encourage member states to criminalize the purchase of sex in all circumstances. Laurence Rossignol, French Minister of Family, Children and Women's Rights, has said that the act of buying sex harms human dignity and we wholeheartedly agree.

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