PARIS, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Prostitution could join pimping as an illegal sex-trade activity in France, officials said.
Members of the French Parliament were set to debate Tuesday a measure that would include a six-month jail term for prostitutes and a fine of about $4,000 for their clients, The Connexion reported.
Prostitution isn't illegal in France, but pimping is. Efforts to make prostitution illegal became more pronounced after allegations of a high-class prostitution ring in a tony hotel in Lille that involved politicians and police, the report said.
There are reportedly 20,000 working prostitutes in France, The Connexion said.
Lawmaker and bill sponsor Guy Geoffroy said the number of prostitutes working for themselves was dwindling, with "nine out of 10 being part of human sex trafficking."
France's sex workers' trade union, Strass, called for a rally outside Parliament to oppose the bill, the BBC said.
The union said consensual prostitution and trafficking were distinct, and said it feared a reduction in clients because the fines could force prostitutes to accept riskier transactions.
A letter to members of Parliament signed by Strass officials and other groups accused politicians of treating prostitutes as "marginals whose voice does not deserve to be heard," the BBC said. Signatories called for prostitutes to be given rights instead of penalizing clients.