French minister seeks end of prostitution in Europe

June 23rd, 2012 - 9:23 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 23 (IANS) French minister for women’s rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem wants to organise a conference of experts on how to abolish sex trade and human trafficking in Europe, The Guardian reported.

Vallaud-Belkacem, also the government spokeswoman, said she was seeking to meet British Home Secretary Theresa May for inputs from the country.

“Since the 19th century and the role of (Victorian feminist) Josephine Butler, Britain and France have been the core countries in the international mobilisation against prostitution. I really hope that these common roots are still alive,” she said.

In France, prostitution is not illegal, but brothels were outlawed in 1946 and pimping is illegal.

In 2003, a law was introduced by then interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, making it illegal to stand in a public place known for prostitution, dressed in revealing clothes.

Last year, the French parliament adopted a resolution on the abolition of sex trade, saying its objective was a “society without prostitution”.

The consultation would consider recommendations made last year by French MPs that it should be illegal to pay for sex.

The MPs suggested all clients of sex workers, or anyone who buys sex from any kind of prostitute, would face prison and a fine.

Clients of sex workers face prison in many European countries, including Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

Laws on prostitution vary across Europe. In Germany, prostitution is legal and regulated by the municipality.

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