The Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations (MCWO) applauds the French National Assembly by adopting a law in support of persons in prostitution and reinforcing the fight against the system of prostitution on 6 April 2016. This law repeals all forms of criminalisation of persons who sell sexual acts while penalising buyers of sex, also known as pimps or johns, while providing assistance to prostituted individuals.
France joins the ranks of other EU member states like Sweden, Norway and Iceland that acknowledges that ending the demand for commercial sexual acts is key in the fight against pimping, procuring and trafficking. Hopefully Ireland will be next in the adoption of the abolitionist law to end prostitution and sex trafficking.
The MCWO, which is a full member of the European Women’s Lobby is a signatory of the Brussels Call “Together for a Europe free from prostitution” launched in 2012 calling for urgent action for the abolition of prostitution and to acknowledge prostitution as a form of gender-based violence, as a form of exploitation of inequalities, as a violation of human dignity and human rights.
The French law comprises a holistic series of measures:
- Recognises prostitution as a form of violence and an obstacle to gender equality
- Repeals all forms of criminalisation of prostituted persons
- Offers new protections and a better access to financial compensation for victims of prostitution, pimping, procuring and trafficking
- Sets up a national exit policy and local coordination mechanism to improve the protection of victims and their access to social support and exit options
- Permits the granting of a temporary residency permits to foreign victims of trafficking in human beings
- Reinforces the fight against pimping, procuring and trafficking on the Internet
- Prohibits the purchase of sex acts
- Creates an education policy on the non-commodification of human bodies to be developed in schools.
Lorraine Spiteri, Chairperson said “the value underlying the abolition of the system of prostitution is one that aims to change mentalities on prostitution and strives for a society free from the oppression of the sex industry and of the trafficking in human beings for sexual exploitation.”