Women in skimpy outfits and high heels could be arrested under new French laws that make it illegal to simply look like a prostitute in public.
France is set to bring in a repressive new anti-vice law that makes passive soliciting by
appearing to be offering sex for sale illegal. It is expected that prostitutes will be forced to wear casual clothing like jeans and trainers to get around the rules. The law will outlaw the act of publicly soliciting another person for paid sex, by
any means, including passive behaviour .
But French sex workers' union Strass see the law as a huge step backwards . Spokesman Chloe Navarro said:
It is making criminals of women for how they dress,
and victimising prostitutes for doing their job and aggravating their working conditions.
Lawmakers in France's upper house the Senate will vote on the law next week.
Rome council has a plan is to corral the growing number of sex workers into an unpopulated set of designated streets, a tucked-away red-light district. Proponents reason the working girls can still serve male clients, but beyond the delicate eyes of
wives, grandmothers and children.
The zones of tolerance, however, are meeting strong resistance from the Roman Catholic Church, the national government and the sex workers themselves.
Italy's prostitution laws are vague and still
largely guided by a half-century-old act that banned brothels but left unclear the legality of street solicitation.
Religious groups that work with sex workers say the streetwalker problem is now critical, with the population at roughly
12,000, about double the number a decade ago.
The plan has made unlikely allies of the Catholic Church, which is fighting it on miserable moral grounds, and sex worlkers themselves, who are resisting it based on more earthly commercial concerns.
Although much of the public debate centres on what to do about female prostitutes, aid groups say almost half the streetwalkers in EUR are male transvestites or transsexuals.
A judge ruled in a Barcelona court that sex workers should be given contracts by brothel owners, who would pay social security contributions on their behalf. The civil court decision was made after a massage parlour offering sex services in the city was
raided by labour inspectors. The judge ruled that management violated the women's rights and the firm, called Xcenter, would have to pay backdated national insurance payments for the prostitutes from 2012.
The owner argued that the workers were
autonomous and not officially employed, however authorities stated that as there was a employer and employee working relationship, it constitutes a contract so social security payments should be made. The court has therefore ruled that prostitutes should
be given the security of benefits, healthcare, pensions and unemployment payments to help safeguard them from being exploited.
Prostitution has been decriminalised in the country since 1995, however sex workers were not deemed to have had jobs and
were not entitled to labour rights.
The decision by the court in Barcelona is not yet final, as it can be appealed to the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia.
Rome authorities have approved plans for a red light zone where prostitution will be officially tolerated from April. Ignazio Marino, the Italian capital's centre-left mayor, gave his blessing on Friday evening to the experiment in the EUR business
district south of the city.
The local council there has proposed allowing prostitution in one non-residential area with the aim of reducing the impact of a trade currently conducted on more than 20 streets in the district. If the experiment proves
successful, the council wants to establish up to three separate red light zones within the district.
Police will be ordered to impose fines of up to 500 euros on prostitutes caught working outside the permitted area, which will be supervised by
health and social workers in a bid to counter exploitation by pimps and traffickers and promote safer sex.
Of course the miserable Church is quick to preach on other people's sexual choices, maybe in an attempt to deflect the spotlight away from
its own sexual depravity.
Avvenire, the weekly magazine of the Conference of Italian Bishops, called the plan shameful for a city that is the cradle and the heart of Christian humanism.
Giovanni Ramonda, of the Pope John XXIII
Community, said Rome would be introducing tolerance zones for the slavery of women. The Catholic group is campaigning for Italy to enact similar legislation to Sweden, where efforts to eliminate prostitution have involved criminalizing clients
rather than sex workers.
But the scheme won backing from the council leader in a neighbouring district, who said many parts of the capital faced similar problems with the social side-effects of street prostitution, which is already tolerated in
practice in some peripheral parts of the capital. Andrea Catarci said:
It is a courageous move and one the whole city - institutions and associations - needs to get behind.
A number of Milan politicians have come out in support of opening a red light district in Italy's financial capital, just days after plans for a prostitution zone were unveiled in Rome. Politicians from both left and right have backed the idea
of opening up a red light district.
Carlo Monguzzi, from the ruling Democratic Party (PD), said setting up a prostitution zone could be the only solution to tackling current problems. He wrote on Facebook:
Having a red light district in Milan is a good idea...We must help the women reduced to slavery and forced into prostitution who are beaten to death if they don't do it.
Luigi Pagliuca of the Forza Italia party
I would be delighted if the city council would move away from the logic of taboo and moralism, and openly tackle the problem and the situation of the oldest profession in the world.
A high-end brothel employing only married women for customers wanting to sleep with another man's wife has been raided by Russian police.
Most of the women's husbands had no idea their wives had been working as prostitutes with rates up to £250 an
hour for their services. Prices for services were more than six times higher than a typical outfit with the more normal rate of around £40.
Prospective sex workers were instructed to bring a marriage certificate before they were allowed to work at
the specialist brothel which was set across a seven-room apartment.
Officers are now enquiring into the whereabouts of the brothel's madam, known only as Mamma who managed to escape during the raid. The victims of the police raid will
now face just a £20 fine from police but may have a little more explaining to do when they get home to their husbands.
Last year the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, RFSU, commissioned a research report to investigate the effects of the Swedish ban on sex purchase, introduced in 1999. RFSU wanted an independent overview of earlier studies to be used as a
foundation for a congressional decision in June 2015.
In an interview with DN (Dagens Nyheter), RFSU´s president Kristina Ljungros, says that there is no evidence that the demand has declined to the extent claimed by the 2010 state-led evaluation and
that they are worried on the impact the ban has on sex workers.
The report, conducted by Charlotta Holmstrom at Malmo¶ University, concludes that the ban's positive effects have been heavily exaggerated and have led to increased vulnerability for
sex workers. Studies that Holmstrom refers to show that the risks involved in selling sex have increased. The fear of being arrested has led to a situation where clients are seeing sex workers at their chosen venue (home or hotel) instead of meeting them
at a place chosen by the sex workers. This means that sex workers are forced to meet clients under unsafe circumstances, as they have no idea who they will meet beforehand.
Holmstrom says in the DN article that she was mainly surprised that no one
had investigated how sex workers said they were impacted by the law. In the DN article she also says that the expressed ambition of the law was to combine it with social support services, which is something that has not been realised to a sufficient
degree. Holmstom said:
Without parallel and wide-spread investments in support services, the law seems to achieve different results than what was initially expected
She also notes that one of the
consequences of the law is that the popular support for a prohibition of selling sex seems to have increased, which can be understood as a change in attitudes. The criminalisation of clients has led to an attitude which perceives the person who sells sex
Holmstrom is referring to a study where 52% of the respondents says that they think that the selling of sexual services also should be criminalised, compared to 30 % before the ban was introduced. President Kristina Ljungfors of RFSU
says to DN that this is a change in attitudes that they really don't want to see, since sex workers is about some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Ljungros says to DN that the report demonstrates a need to revise the legislation:
I understand the intention with the Swedish law. But if it doesn't work, we have to consider other alternatives.
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