French sex workers demonstrated in Paris on Saturday after a government minister said she wanted to see prostitution “disappear”.
As a first step, Womens’ Rights Minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem wants to penalise clients. But prostitutes say such a move would place them in greater danger.
Current law in France seeks to protect sex workers while discouraging prostitution in general.
Morgane Merteiul, secretary-general of the sex workers’ union, says the minister needs to do some homework to understand the reality of prostitution.
“There isn’t one kind of prostitution,” she said. “There are different ways of exercising this activity. And every situation merits a response that is adapted to it. The fight against forced labour is not incompatible with the idea of giving rights to a person who exercises this activity with consent.”
Ending prostitution was in Francois Hollande’s presidential manifesto. However, 54 per cent of French disagree with the idea.