Statement: We oppose French proposals to criminalise prostitution

The French parliament has been discussing the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients and will be voting on it tomorrow.  The proposals are based on the ‘Swedish model’, and claim to decriminalise the women while criminalising the men.

The English Collective of Prostitutes campaigns for the decriminalisation of prostitution, and together with STRASS, the French sex workers’ union, we oppose the French proposals: they will drive prostitution further underground and put sex workers in more danger.  This is just what has happened in Sweden.  It is not clients who have faced the worst penalties and stigma, but sex workers and our families.

Public opinion is now more concerned with sex workers’ safety than with punishing women who are trying to make a living and support our families.  That’s why those interested in clamping down on prostitution have had to appear to be targeting only clients not sex workers.

It is even more scandalous that these proposals should be happening now when so many sex workers are mothers and/or students, and one in five children in France is living in poverty.

We note that some prominent people like Catherine Deneuve are also opposing the proposals.

See article by our first spokeswoman Selma James on the situation in France, recently published in the Guardian.