Prostitution: a strategy that goes “in the right direction”?

Prostitution: a strategy that goes “in the right direction”?
Prostitution: a strategy that goes “in the right direction”?

Aurore Bergé, the Minister Delegate in charge of Equality between women and men and the fight against discrimination, unveiled on Thursday May 2 a national strategy to combat prostitution which aims to strengthen existing systems and integrate the issue prostitution of minors.

Its objective is “to strengthen and harmonize the application of the law throughout the territory and to better take into account new forms of prostitution”, declared the minister, referring to the 2016 law, which notably repealed the offense of soliciting, and now penalizes customers, liable to a fine of 1,500 euros to 3,750 euros in the event of a repeat offense.

A “phase 2 of the 2016 law”

Highly anticipated, the presentation of this “phase 2 of the 2016 law” was rather well received by the associations (Amicale du Nid, CAP International, Fondation Scelles, Mouvement du Nid and FNCIDFF), who welcome this law. Like Stéphanie Caradec, director of the Mouvement du Nid, an association working with prostitutes and supporting the need to abolish sex work: “ Based on 4 pillars: the decriminalization of prostitutes, support for people wanting to leave prostitution, the ban on the purchase of sexual acts and the fight against pimping, the law is very comprehensive and goes in line with common senseshe says.

However, regarding the application of customer penalization, it depends a lot on the will of the actors in the territories “. To try to compensate for these disparities in application, the government plans, in its strategy, increased involvement of dedicated departmental commissions or even a strengthening of actions taken against “ alleged massage parlors harboring prostitution “.

For Sarah-Marie Maffesoli, Médecins du Monde referent on issues related to sex work, penalizing clients has made the conditions of sex workers worse. “ There has been a marked increase in violence, particularly rape, since the law was implemented. There is also an increase in risk-taking, with the fact that sex workers are less able to introduce condom use. », Explains the referent.

30% of the 40,000 prostitutes are minors

Among the various measures of the new strategy, the government also wants to tackle the problem of prostitution of minors, “ particularly vulnerable in this context », According to the minister. A national reception and support network will be set up to deal with the increase in minor prostitutes, the latter reaching 30% of the 40,000 prostitutes in France.

Faced with the fear of seeing sexual performances explode during the Olympic Games, Minister Aurore Bergé also announced that an awareness campaign would be put in place this summer. For Sarah-Marie Maffesoli, thinking that there will be a sharp increase in sex work during the Olympics is a myth: “ A lot of research has been done and shows that there is no increase in the number of sex workers at major sporting events. This argument is used to increase repressive measures against sex work, thinking that this will put an end to the phenomenon. But what we see is that we are in no way putting an end to sex work, we are making it invisible and we are degrading the living and working conditions of the people who carry out this activity. », Indignant the referent of Médecins du Monde.

The associations also regret the government’s decision not to increase the amount of financial aid for social integration (Afis) intended for people wishing to leave prostitution. “ This aid is currently 342 euros per month, which clearly does not allow people to leave prostitution and find a job. We ask that it be brought up to the level of the RSA, as well as a residence permit throughout the duration of the procedure. », deplores the Nest Movement. As for “providing security for women and girls, particularly foreigners but also minors and young adults”, it is considered “insufficient”.

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