Buying Sex Is Now Illegal In France!

April 7, 2016

A man approaches a sexy woman he has been buying sex from

Those in power in France have decided that it is time to make paying for sex against the law. The theory is that they are making it totally legal for you to sell sex, but those clients buying sex are now doing something illegal, facing hefty fines and criminal charges. All in the name of eradicating prostitution.

France isn’t the only country in the world to have taken this moral and now legal stance on buying sex. There are plenty of countries out there who have decided the same, and given how quickly some countries are picking up the law, is it only a matter of time before buying sex becomes illegal in the UK?

Here on the XEscorts blog we take a look at what this law means for sex workers in France, how criminalising the client will impact their work, and just what it could mean for the future of sex work in the UK.

What does the law mean?

In theory, the law is meant to make it legal for those in the industry to sell sex, and according to those supporting the law, it also makes it “safer”. Sex workers can now do their jobs without fearing ramifications on their part, and aren’t breaking any laws by advertising their time and companionship for sale. Clients, on the other hand, aren’t so lucky.

Instead, the clients become the criminals. If you are caught paying for sex, you could be fined up to €3,750, which works out at around £3,027. No, it doesn’t matter if you are both consenting adults. You will still get fined for it.

It is also said that those convicted could face further punishments, being forced to attend classes that will teach them “about the conditions faced by prostitutes” in order to get them to rethink ever buying sex from anyone ever again.

France is not alone

France is not alone in deciding to bring this law in. In fact, there are a few who have chosen to adopt the Nordic Model on Prostitution in order to “rescue” those in the industry.

Sweden was the first, putting the act into place back in 1999. Since then, it has begun to spread, with many believing that it will make the industry safer for sex workers. Countries like Norway, Iceland, and Northern Ireland have all followed suit, believing that this is the best way to help those poor women stay safe and secure while they work. That is, if it was only bad clients who paid for sex.

However, really they want to get rid of sex work all together. They believe that getting rid of the supply (by making buying illegal and causing clients to second guess visits) is the best way to make sex workers look for “more viable employment options”.

Criminalising the client

The problem is that criminalising the client and making buying sex illegal actually does more harm than good. It makes it far more dangerous for sex workers to actually work, as the good clients don’t want to get caught. Paying for sex with a consenting adult isn’t wrong, but morally and now legally, it is. This makes them less likely to risk visiting sex workers.

However, what people don’t realise is that this will push the entire industry underground. It isolates sex workers, making it even more dangerous for them to work.

Instead of accepting sex work as real work, they are making it as difficult as possible for those in the industry to continue. Instead of providing them with support and treating it as a real job, the powers that be want to get rid of the oldest industry in the world.

Rights, not rescue

Sex workers aren’t happy about this. Many news sites are reporting that some went to protest the law coming in, mentioning some standing outside the parliament in Paris with placards and banners. One particularly prominent one said “don’t liberate me, I’ll take care of myself”.

The fact that they report that “around 60” demonstrators took to the streets to protest it makes it seem like there hasn’t been a big fight. In fact, there has, and a lot of it has been on social media. Websites like Twitter and Facebook have blown up the news, with many users choosing to show solidarity with their fellow sex workers in France.

Want to see what is happening on social media? Take a look at the hashtags #notyourrescueproject and #rightsnotrescue to see what people are saying.

The future of buying sex

So, will buying sex in the UK become illegal? It seems that, since France has now made it so, people are calling for the UK to do the same. In our opinion, this is a bad move. Evidence has already shown that the law hasn’t made it safer for sex workers in Sweden. Back in February 2011, the Swedish police published a study about the numbers of “pimping and aggravated procuring”, “human trafficking”, and “purchase of sexual services”.

The study showed that, despite claims that the Swedish model is working, it isn’t. The statistics show that the number of instances of pimping, trafficking, and sex work had actually gone up. So instead of removing the demand for sex work, it simply made the industry more dangerous.

If you want to read more about you, you should read out blog on whether paying for sex should be illegal in the UK and join in the discussion there.

Will the UK soon adopt this law? Will they see that this isn’t the way to make the industry safer? I, personally, believe that decriminalisation is the way to go. If we can accept that sex work is real work, we can start to give all sex workers the support that they would get in any other job. We can really make it safer if we stop letting our morals run the laws of our country. If it is between two consenting adults, why shouldn’t it happen?

Lara Mills
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