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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #256 (Dec) - feminism, Buying sex" soon banned. That's good, but ... (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 4 Jan 2016 10:51:05 +0200

The law of "fight against the prostitution system" will soon be enacted. The AL Congress in May 2015, supplemented by a position taken by the Federal Coordination AL October, made a nuanced analysis. If it can not dry up the sources of social and economic system of prostitution, some provisions are an important asset in changing male attitudes. ---- This is the final stretch for the bill "fight against the prostitution system." The parliamentary shuttle lasted almost two years, because of significant differences of opinion. The Assembly would prohibit "use the purchase of sexual acts" and repeal the crime of solicitation; conversely, the Senate wanted to preserve the tranquility of johns and maintain hunting prostitutes [1].

The last word back to the Assembly, the law should be adopted before the end of 2015. As usual, the decrees, they probably will wait another two years.

What are the main points of this legislation?

It includes "information about the realities of prostitution and the dangers of the commodification of the body" in the education program for gender equality from the college;
It provides for the issuance of a residence permit for six months to prostitute es undocumented prerequisite for their emancipation trafficking networks [2].
It abolished the odious "crime of passive soliciting" established in 2003 by the Internal Security Act (LSI) wanted by Nicolas Sarkozy. This "crime of solicitation" - subject to two months' imprisonment and a fine of 3,750 euros - was making delinquent prostitutes and encouraged police persecution against them, with the blessing of governments seeking to make them invisible.

It stresses the responsibility of "clients" in the existence of the prostitution system, by imposing prohibits "use the purchase of sexual acts." The men caught in the act will be fined and must follow a "awareness course ".

The latter provision, often called the "criminalization of clients," is one that has the most ink spilled in the media. What to think?

When survivors open their eyes

On the one hand, one can criticize his repressive side: the contravention of 1,500 euros maximum is uneven - for a paltry DSK, exorbitant for a precarious. Its educational side is much more interesting, provided it does not go by the wayside. Indeed, the law does not say what will happen the "awareness training". According to the means used, it may be a vain civic moral lesson, or a real educational approach. Abroad, the training has been successful when it has been entrusted to survivors of prostitution who undertake to disclose to "clients" upside sordid backdrop of a supposedly libertine [3].

Most important however, is the symbolic value of the forbidden, the blow that door patriarchy in its liberal version, by repealing the "freedom" of others to monetize sexuality.

We are witnessing in fact, in countries where prostitution is legal, a return to male mentality of the nineteenth century, with the trivialization of this mode of "consumption". The phenomenon is already palpable in France, in the border regions of Catalonia and Germany, where the men fired at the brothel, on the other side of the border, is becoming commonplace [4].

"Puticlub" Paradise at the Jonquera (Catalonia).
Paradise includes 200 prostitutes to clients in good French side, with "Bachelor Party" formulas "private party", "business" ...
Conversely, in countries like Sweden and Norway, where "buying sex" was banned, the effects were positive. In terms of the mass of forced prostitutes (in France, 85% of the workforce), it has discouraged the "market" and has driven investors - trafficking networks, pimps, brothel keepers and Password hotels - , which mechanically driven down the number of women "upright" (kidnapped and raped in "training house") to be placed on the sidewalk or in the window [5].

As for independent prostitutes (in France, 15% of the workforce), it has certainly dried up much of the clientele but by placing the clients insecure, it has strengthened the position of prostitutes in the market report and even, in some cases, raised prices of the passes [6].

A symbolic Advanced

What can we conclude from this?

That the reasons for satisfaction should not mask the essential, namely that such a law can not of course, in any case abolish prostitution system.

While this bill is positive on four points:

for residence permits promised to prostitutes without papers;
for the decriminalization of prostitutes;
for the positive impact that the ban could have on the mentality of men;
to the negative impact it can have on the business of trafficking networks.
The problem is that, whatever the speech of PS government, its austerity policy and border closures exacerbates poverty, undermining social protection, and is therefore succeed the market of prostitution.

That is why this law will be powerless to abolish the system of prostitution itself. To do this will require firstly reducing poverty through collective struggles:

the right to housing;
the right to an income for everyone (even if that access to the RSA for the under 25 years);
freedom of movement of migrants (who are forced-underground, are an ideal prey for pimps);
educating men to non-sexist reporting.
Guillaume (AL Montreuil), with Stephanie (U Nantes) and Alain (AL Alsace)

Illustration: Thierry Ehrmann

[1] "Prostitution: exit the criminalization of customers, the Senate wants to restore the offense of soliciting," Le Monde, March 27, 2015

[2] According to the investigation report "health and social situation of prostitutes", from October 8, 2013, in France 80% to 90% are foreigners - mostly Romanian, Bulgarian, Nigerian, Brazilian and Chinese.

[3] "Norma Hotaling, initiator of an awareness program" clients "of prostitution in the United States", Prostitution and Society, April-June 1998.

[4] Sophie Avarguez (ed.), From the visible to the invisible: prostitution and border effects,. Balzac ed, 2013. Solid sociological survey on the impact of "puticlubs" Catalan Youth Pyrenees-Orientales.

[5] Interview with Gunilla Ekberg in Prostitution and Society, July to September 2004.

[6] "Prostitution: Stockholm, the city or the customer is invisible", L'Observateur, 1 December 2013.

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