The government unveils its plan to combat prostitution

The Minister Delegate in charge of equality between women and men, Aurore Bergé, presented, Thursday May 2, her national strategy against prostitution, in particular to “better take into account [its] new forms”

The government unveils its plan to combat prostitution

The Minister Delegate in charge of equality between women and men, Aurore Bergé, presented, Thursday May 2, her national strategy against prostitution, in particular to “better take into account [its] new forms”.

“I am thinking in particular of the rise of social networks and online platforms for booking accommodation,” she explained during the presentation of her plan. Ms. Bergé also mentioned the sexual exploitation of minors, “particularly vulnerable in this context”, which “requires the strengthening of specific and targeted measures”. This plan comes eight years after the adoption of the 2016 law which notably repealed the offense of soliciting and replaced it with the penalization of customers. These are now liable to a fine of 1,500 euros – 3,750 euros in the event of a repeat offense.

But many actors point to insufficient support for people wishing to leave prostitution and regional disparities in terms of client convictions.

To try to compensate for these shortcomings, the combat strategy provides among its twenty-five measures for increased involvement of departmental commissions dedicated to this subject or even a strengthening of actions taken against “alleged massage parlors harboring prostitution”.

“I worked hand in hand with several ministries – interior, justice, children and health – recalling that our targets are not the women and men who are in prostitution but the pimps who practice human trafficking and the customers who help to supply it,” explained Aurore Bergé in an interview with La Croix published Thursday.

The plan, according to the minister, also provides for "systematic training of law enforcement on tracking, identification, arrest but also better care of women who have been involved in prostitution and who must be considered as victims of violence.”

Awareness campaign during the Olympics

Faced with an under-application of the sanctions provided for by the 2016 law, the government also promises to "rethink" their modalities to take into account prostitution in private places, a blind spot in the current system.

On the issue of minor prostitutes – whose number has doubled in recent years to reach 30% of the 40,000 prostitutes in France – a national network of dedicated reception centers will be set up in order to improve their care . Concerning online prostitution, a cyber investigation unit will be responsible for detecting “situations of sexual exploitation, deleting accounts but also dismantling networks and collecting evidence to convict the pimps”.

An awareness campaign will also be launched as part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris this summer, during which the authorities have already indicated that they expect an influx of clients of prostitutes.