France passes anti-prostitution measure including fine for customers

Nov. 30, 2013 at 1:43 PM

PARIS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- French lawmakers Saturday passed part of an anti-prostitution bill that includes a controversial schedule of fines for sex-trade customers.

The National Assembly spent several hours late Friday in a spirited debate over the proposed 1,500 euro ($2,038) fine for first-time violators before voting in favor of the measure early Saturday.

The measure was controversial because prostitution is legal in France -- although solicitation, pimping and the sale of sex by minors is prohibited, Radio France Internationale said.

The measure followed the lead of a Swedish law that supporters say has virtually cut street prostitution in Sweden in half. The bill prompted a series of demonstrations by sex workers both in favor of the bill and opposing it.

The penalties were part of a larger bill regulating prostitution that will be voted on next week. It will include decriminalization for soliciting by prostitutes while penalizing customers who solicit hookers.

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