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France makes prostitution legal under new laws

Gorkha Post

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PARIS — France has introduced new prostitution laws, making soliciting sex legal. Activities, however, around it such as brothels and pimping have been made illegal.

On Tuesday, French MPs approved a new law that supporters say will protect sex workers by shifting the burden of the offense onto clients, but some prostitutes are crying foul.

The changes have been met by rallies, with some people calling for the abolition of prostitution all together, and others demanding the laws be scaled back.

People who want to pay for sex could now cop a 1,500 Euro fine, which increases if they are found re-offending.

Those prosecuted would also have to attend education classes, about the harms of the sex trade.

The French Government estimates 90 per cent of the country’s 20,000 to 40,000 sex workers are victims of Nigerian, Chinese and Romanian sex trafficking networks.

MP Guy Geoffroy, member of the conservative party Les Republicans, said from now on the onus would be on the clients.

“We have decided to reinforce as much as we can the fight against the networks trafficking human beings and against procurement,” he said.

Some prostitution supporter groups said the new legislation would provide sex workers with greater powers, and help to encourage the reporting of crimes against them.

Claire Quidet, a sex worker supporter, said prostitutes will benefit from the overhaul.

“Prostitutes will no longer be seen as criminals,” Ms Quidet said.

“When they are abused, they can file a complaint in a police station which they did not dare do before. The power relationship with their clients will be completely different as they will be in a position of strength such as ‘I am not guilty, but you, what you’re doing is against the law’.”

Elisabeth Lansey, from Friends of the Bus for Women, said she and others fear sex workers will be forced into underground operations.

“If customers are penalised, they will be scared, the girls will have to hide in order to practice their trade, which is legal, and as the one who might get into legal trouble, the customer will be able to even more impose his choices, including unprotected sex.”

One sex worker, Orlena, said she and her fellow sex workers feared for their future. “Tomorrow we will be in total insecurity,” she said.

Rallies against the changes are continuing and growing.

The new laws have been in the making since 2013.

 

Agencies

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Lightning strike kills woman in Saptari

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RAJBIRAJ — A woman was killed when lightning struck her in the field at Bishnupur Rural Municipality-6 in Saptari district on Saturday evening.

The victim is 50-year-old Keshari Devi Yadav, wife of Shailendra Kumar Yadav, Superintendent of Police Mukesh Kumar Singh said. She was struck by thunderbolt while picking up lentils in the field.

Another woman, Rinku Yadav who had gone together with Keshari to harvest lentil, has been injured in the incident. She is being treated at the Gajendra Narayan Singh Sagarmatha Zone Hospital at Rajbiraj.

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