France angered by prostitution petition

France angered by prostitution petition

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
France angered by prostitution petition

Protesters carrying a banner reading “No to the penalisation of clients” during a demonstration. AFP photo

A petition against the abolition of prostitution has created uproar in France, fuelling an already intense debate on buying and selling sex.

“We consider that everyone has the right to freely sell their charms -- and even to like doing so,” reads the text, to be published in the monthly opinion magazine Causeur in November.

“All together, we declare: Don’t touch my whore,” the petition adds, slamming a bill introduced in parliament that seeks to reinforce the protection of prostitutes in France and to fight against those who pay for sex.

“We do not want lawmakers to adopt rules governing our desires and pleasures,” reads the text, seen by AFP on Oct. 30.

Prostitution itself is allowed in France, but soliciting, pimping, and minors selling sex are prohibited.
The bill, to be debated at the end of next month, seeks to penalize clients instead of sex workers in a bid to phase out prostitution.

It looks to impose a 1,500-euro fine on those paying for sex, and to double that if the person is caught doing it again. Several prominent figures are signatories of the petition, including author Frederic Beigbeder and lawyer Richard Malka.

The manifesto was widely condemned on Twitter, and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, minister for women’s rights and spokeswoman for the government, voiced criticism over the possible abolition on Oct. 30.