Blimey, who thought that it would be France?

France has outlawed buying sex after more than two years of heated debate, passing a law on Wednesday that slaps a €1,500 (£1,210) fine on those who pay for prostitutes while decriminalising the sex workers themselves.

Repeat offenders stand to pay €3,750 (£3,000) and face being sent on compulsory classes to learn of the perils of prostitution.

38 thoughts on “Blimey, who thought that it would be France?”

  1. The only perils of prostitution I’m aware of are getting your wallet emptied. So more of the same, basically.

  2. Heard this on the radio last night. I guess “I do what I like with my own body” is right out now then.

  3. Which means that just like Swrfen, it will have no impact. That’s what? 15 blowjobs as a fine, for a transaction that is almost impossible to police?

    See, the Swedish law is really for show. There aren’t lots of blokes being prosecuted each year. It’s a few, for the press. It’s a bugger for the blokes who get caught but they are few.

    Combining cellphones and sites like adultwork and punternet means that it’s very hard to stop it. A sting operation won’t last for more than a day. Youll get one person as the name of the girl will be all over the net.

    And advice – ask a street walker if she’ll do nude shots first. Its legal but no copper will do this.

  4. So buying sex is illegal but selling sex is decriminalised. How long will it take for a smart lawyer to get round that one, pro bono publico?

  5. Bloke in Spain,

    When I used to partake, I did reckon they were generally a good lot. I’ve dealt with much higher percentage of lawyers who didn’t do their job well.

  6. Funny how banning this won’t drive it underground, but banning abortion will. Coz obviously people will just stop doing it if you ban something.

    Some jewels in the BBC report:

    Corredpondents say the predominately right-wing Senate has been opposed to the ban

    Ooh, nasty right wingers!

    Swedish authorities say the number of women on the streets in the prostitution area has fallen

    Ooh, have they vanished? Are they now baristas or diversity consultants? Perhaps they have simply moved to an area not known for prostitution?

  7. Repeat offenders stand to pay €3,750 (£3,000) and face being sent on compulsory classes to learn of the perils of prostitution.

    The perils of prostitution being, of course, that you will be finned three grand and sent on a course.

  8. @anon (but who you are is well known amongst the gurlz)
    Having to deal professionally with both, your not wrong. And at least the dosh goes in a good cause.

  9. Rob,

    They measured their success by the fall in street prostitution since 1999, but the fact is that street prostitution has been disappearing everywhere since the 90s.

    What woman wants to stand in the freezing cold when she can sit at home and arrange things?

  10. Standard leftie move: ban things that the proles enjoy. The upper/middle classes have ways to get their leg over without explicit cash payments. In France you just hire a secretary. DSK knows all about it.

  11. “compulsory classes to learn of the perils of prostitution.”

    Will this cover the effects of still being an anonymous tip-off away from losing business? The choices available to a prostitute if the fines actually succeed in putting off the punters?

    I’m not assuming they’ll all end up destitute, but equally there’s bound to be a subset for whom the next best option is much less preferable. It’s hypocritical to argue that it’s better for a trader to have ‘only’ her trade criminalised.

    Hopefully Tim and Anon are right, and the impact of the fines is negligible.

  12. France has outlawed buying sex

    Does that include paying for dinner and a couple of drinks? I guess the diamond ring industry in France is fucked now too.

  13. I guess the smarter girls will carry a present that they can sell to a punter, which the punter can use to “woo” them.

  14. NielsR,

    I even believe they’re deliberately low.

    There’s a lot of laws that are created just to send a signal to dummies. Things that dummies want something done about, but which the politicians know have serious downsides. but they also want the dummy vote. So, they come up with a Potemkin law… something that’s either a doddle to work around, or has little effect. Where getting fined isn’t a deterrent, but just a cost to doing business.

    Our drug laws are like this. They don’t stop drugs getting through, they just add a small cost. The laws about benefit cheats and illegal immigrants are mostly for the dummies to think the government is serious.

  15. “Blimey, who thought that it would be France?”

    Some of us will remember that Paris was the first city to ban smoking in enclosed spaces, years before New York (or whatever was next).

    Though briefly much-heralded as a sign of French sophistication and superiority, the ban was entirely ignored on all sides. (To such an extent that I thought I’d imagined it, and this was way before google).

  16. I’m always confused about how women are a protected sub species. If they get an abortion where it is illegal they can’t be prosecuted but the abortion provider is. If they sell sex they can’t be prosecuted but the buyer can.

    Soon if I sell them a sharp perfectly legal knife that they use to kill someone It’ll be me in the dock for murder and not them.

  17. “Things that dummies want something done about, but which the politicians know have serious downsides. but they also want the dummy vote”

    But hardly anyone gives a shit about prostitution. Even fewer than historically when the street-scene cause legitimate irks to people in affected neighbourhoods.

    Nope.. these laws are nothing to do with dummies/voters. They are to appease tiny, but vocal, minorities… and prudish and illiberal politicians. And even if only a few get ‘done’ it’s still a Very Bad Thing because the impact on those individuals could be severe and this really just adds yet another option to the list of ways the state has to fuck up your life if it so chooses.

  18. “@Jack C France has equally draconian smoking bans as the rest of the World now”

    Yes, I know that. I’m talking about their original, World’s First Ever Smoking Ban.

    Sometime in the 90’s I think.

  19. Ian Reid,

    I’m not commenting on the morality of the laws, just whether they change incentives.

    What happens with the drug laws is that it’s just a cost/risk thing. The rewards outweigh the risk * penalty. It’s like when I park to go to the wine shop. I should buy a ticket, but the chance of an inspector doing a check in the 10 minutes I’m there are so slim, im better off paying a fine for the odd time I get caught.

    The Swedes charge a 2month fine and have less than 500 prosecutions per year for a population of 9 million people. So, assuming say 1% of the population doing it regularly, you have less than a 1/200 chance of getting caught per year. And if you do, it’s probably manageable for most buyers. It’s not going to do much to change behaviour.

  20. @Anon

    > There’s a lot of laws that are created just to send a signal to dummies
    > So, they come up with a Potemkin law… something that’s either a doddle to work around, or has little effect.

    I’m aware you weren’t arguing about the morality, neither was I. I’m pointing out that 10,000 people in jail isn’t a little effect. It’s rather more than a “signal” to dummies. I agree it’s still a risk/reward thing, but don’t underplay the level of risk. Enforcement falls disproportionately on the underclass too. So the middle class cannabis smoker might be forgiven for thinking it’s legal, but on the sink estate with more Police activity the picture is rather different.

  21. I suspect this won’t be enforced because no municipal policeman is going to bother wandering around the Bois de Bolougne at night poking his nose into the bushes, the dodgy folk around Blanche and Pigalle will just brazenly carry on doing what they’ve done for decades, and those who work out of agencies/apartments will point to the disclaimer that the client is paying for her company only and any sex acts are simply adults expressing free choice. As they’ve always done.

  22. Ian Reid,

    it takes a lot for a cannabis smoker to go to jail. I doubt there are any in jail. It’s mostly dealers, and those are going to be poor people with less to lose. if you live in Wythenshawe or Oldham and don’t have a job, prison doesn’t look so bad.

  23. Pingback: The bloody french again | Kevin Burctoolla's gaming world

  24. Anon, if you live in Wythenshawe or Oldham, even if you have a job prison doesn’t look so bad.

  25. I read on working girls’ forum site the suggestion, if they try this in the UK, they’ll start outing politicians, senior civil servants & high ranking police officers. Seemed to attract general approval
    Would certainly add to the gaity of life.

  26. This is just yet another in a long line of failed attempts by the morality brigade to arrest the continuing decline in the price for sex.

    Previously you had to get married and commit to a women for the remainder of your life to get regular sex and if she quit putting out you either did without, committed adultery or went to a whore.

    With the sexual revolution, mostly brought about by effective contraception the consequences of sex for unmarried women (i.e. becoming pregnant out of wedlock) are effectively nil.

    Men don’t need to make that lifetime commitment with the risk of losing their house + half their assets + kids, instead they can just screw women, dump them when they’re bored and get another one.

    So the only people likely to be affected by this are the middle classes who still believe in marriage and the old, ugly and socially inept who can’t get laid any other way.

    Your average lady of the night is not going to see her income go up the spout (even if she personally isn’t going to be arrested), so she will put up whatever façade is necessary to frustrate and bypass this law.

  27. anon,

    “it takes a lot for a cannabis smoker to go to jail.”

    That depends on where and when you are. I’ve known people that went to jail over a single joint. It’s not as bad as it was but picking up an ounce for holiday can still bring big trouble.

    I’m curious about the abundance of sex talk today. I had a feeling that if Tim and Ms Murphy had been in the same building they would have had a pre-breakfast shag. Something to do with a disillusioned ‘liberal’ seeing the error in her assumptions thanks to her organizations involvement in Panama. Tim you’re better off with a pro.

  28. Anon, I wouldn’t call €1000-3000 low. It’s hardly parking ticket territory. Seems enough to make most people stop and think, even if it’s rarely enforced.

    Also indicative that the fine goes up for repeat offenses. I imagine a trusted regular is quite welcome in this business, which this actively undermines.

  29. NielsR. If anything, the effect in Norn Iron nearly 12 months on seems to be the opposite.
    With established independents gaining more regs, and there seems little drop off in SW’s touring from the South or mainland so far.

  30. One thing I find very naive is the way supporters of this, like the Guardian, have been holding up France’s provision of an “exit programme” for prostitutes as an answer to criticism of the law. According to them, prostitutes will be found other jobs by the government scheme, ones that are safe and secure and don’t involve sex.

    The budget set aside for this is around €160 per prostitute, but even if they threw money at it they couldn’t magic jobs for 30,000 prostitutes out of thin air. There are loads of back to work schemes for the non-prostituting unemployed and they don’t have a great success rate.

  31. So the girl agrees to sell the punter an expensive copy of a cheap paperback or some such item, then feels oddly attracted to him and has sex with him for free.

  32. Paul Nottingham,

    Do you know what the Swedes do? If a bloke is with a hooker (at say, a regular spot where they take clients), they tell him he can either pay a fine or fight the charges. They have zero evidence of a crime, but of course, most people pay up to avoid having to explain things to their Mrs, family or friends. it’s a scandalous abuse of power.

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