Eight years after the penalization of clients, what is included in the plan to combat prostitution unveiled this Thursday ?

Eight years after the penalization of clients, what is included in the plan to combat prostitution unveiled this Thursday ?

The executive expects an upsurge in prostitution customers during the Paris Olympics. FREE MIDI ILLUSTRATION

Eight years after the law penalizing clients, the government is unveiling this Thursday, May 2, a plan to combat prostitution, with particular attention paid to the issue of digital technology and minors, whose number has doubled in recent years.

A plan to combat prostitution will be presented by Aurore Bergé this Thursday, May 2. It aims to"strengthen the application of the 2016 law throughout the territory, in its repressive and social aspect", underlines the entourage of the minister responsible for ;rsquo;Equality between women and men.

Internet prostitution

It is also about "adapting to new forms of prostitution, particularly digital" and to specifically address the issue of minors "to fight effectively against the prostitution continuum" .

In 2016, the adoption of the law "aiming to strengthen the fight against the prostitution system and to support prostituted people"< /em> had been hailed as a major step forward by abolitionists.

After two and a half years of lively debate, the text notably repealed the offense of soliciting and replaced it with the penalization of customers. The latter are now liable to a fine of 1,500,000 euros, which can go up to 3,750,000 euros in the event of a repeat offense, sometimes supplemented by an awareness training course. . The law also set up a route out of prostitution.

But eight years later, the results are mixed. The High Council for Equality (HCE) deplored a penalization "applied unevenly across the territory" and pointed out the challenges of prostitution on the internet. A report from general inspections highlighted a "lack of national management", an absence of "measures to raise awareness among the general public& ;quot; and penal measures that are still little applied.

Revaluation of financial aid for social integration ?

"The 2016 law is a very good law, it’s a shame that it was not implemented in its entirety", estimates Stéphanie Caradec, director of the Mouvement du Nid association, in favor of banning prostitution. She deplores an "anecdotal" application of criminal measures and a lack of budgetary and human resources.

"We must allow all people who wish to leave prostitution to be able to do so in good conditions, but today this is not the case. ;is not the case", she adds, citing the amount "clearly insufficient" of 330 euros monthly from financial aid for social integration (Afis).

Things could however change at this level. Hearing in the Senate on March 21, Aurore Bergé recognized that the current financial aid was "very weak monetarily and would undoubtedly deserve to be upgraded" .

The question of prostitution of minors

At the heart of a specific plan presented in 2021, the issue of prostitution of minors, and in particular of children in child welfare (Ase), will be fully integrated into this national strategy.

According to associations, the number of minor prostitutes has more than doubled in recent years. Today it is estimated between 7,000 and 10,000 out of the 30,000 prostitutes in France.

Opposed to the 2016 law, anti-abolitionist associations deplore not having been consulted by the executive and fear a "new plan for nothing" even "even further weakening sex workers".

"We know that we are going to have the right to a purely ideological strategy, we are going to miss the subject which is the situation of the people concerned on the field", denounces Sarah-Marie Maffesoli, coordinator at Médecins du Monde.

Same bitterness among Elisa Koubi, coordinator of the sex work union (Strass) who has noticed clients since the 2016 law "much more aggressive and more violent&quot ; and prostitutes forced to "move away to avoid the police, therefore to isolate themselves and get off the radar of associations and of health prevention".

Initially planned for January but postponed due to various reshuffles, the presentation of this strategy comes three months before the Olympic and Paralymic Games in Paris during which the executive expects an upsurge of prostitution clientele.

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