On April 6, 2016, France adopted a new law in the country’s fight against prostitution ( HERE ), inspired by the so-called “Nordic Model” — a model which seems to be frequently condemned, little understood and often mocked. We would, therefore, like to help clarify the ins and outs of this new law for you.
The French parliament, with its representatives elected directly through universal suffrage, had spent several years in parliamentary inquiry committees (the reports of which we invite you to read) and hearings in which all parties involved. This new law will place France in line both with its international commitments, and more importantly, in our opinion, with the 1981 law penalizing rape. In the 1981 law, rape is defined as “an act of sexual penetration, of any nature, committed upon the other person, with violence, coercion, threat or surprise.” The National Assembly has come to the decision that sexual intercourse for money is, by its nature, an act of coercion. It is therefore suggested that prostitution constitutes violence, and that it makes sense for the culprit of these imposed sexual relations — the client — to be penalized.
This law, which was proposed by a socialist MP, reinforces the fight against prostitution. Under the law, the client would be fined. This law shows that parliament has listened to the voices of prostitutes who have testified to being victims of mental and physical trauma as a result of encountering multiple unwanted sexual penetrations per day. Such mental and physical traumas are now well-documented in trauma studies.
Parliament has recognized that people — very often minors — turn to prostitution based on their lack of choices or alternatives. A large number of them are also under direct pressure from a pimp or trafficking network.
Common sense assumes that prostitution would be a harmless activity between consenting adults, when in fact, the opposite is true. Poverty, marginalization and violence are growing amongst these young women who are looking to sell their bodies. Our elected officials have justly identified that the law that will prevail is not one that legalizes selling yourself, but a law that ensures that you would never be reduced to such a level in the first place.
Other members of parliament considered that the presence of money is irrefutable proof of the lack of free will of one of the parties involved. “Prostitution is, in reality, very simple. It’s sex between two people — between one person who wants it and one person who doesn’t. And since the desire is absent, payment is there to replace it,” …