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Libération - France | Monday, November 11, 2013

Penalties for punters harm prostitutes

Men who pay for sexual services are to be subject to penalties in France. The French National Assembly will vote on the controversial draft law submitted by Minister of Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem at the end of November. The anti-prostitution law may be counter-productive, the left-liberal daily Libération writes: "Will Najat Vallaud-Belkacem's draft law, which aims to legalise prostitution and subject customers to penalties, allow action to be taken against networks and pimps? Most likely not, experts say, as do some prostitutes we've interviewed. Instead it's far more likely that this law will force prostitutes to go even further underground, where women face the worst dangers. This project can only be the start of a debate, not the end. As long as the necessary financial and personal means for exposing criminal networks are not mobilised, no law will help those who need it most. Worse yet: the law could even backfire on those it purports to help."

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