2022 Assembly


France Adopts Historic Law to Decriminalise Prostituted Individuals


The French Government voted 64:12 to penalise the buyers of sex, equating the purchase of a sexual act with direct support of pimping, organised crime and sex trafficking, on the 6th of April, 2016. The vote was taken calling upon the country’s abolitionist tradition and its fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and women’s equality. France is now amongst an increasing number of countries around the world that are making formal, legislated efforts to end demand for paid sex. This is also central to the fight against pimping, procuring and trafficking.
Ms. Rosen Hicher, a survivor of prostitution and key member of Abolition 2012 – a collective of over 60 French organizations and survivors – has been to the forefront of championing the passage of this new legislation. Ms. Hicher walked 800 kilometres across France in 2014 to raise awareness about the pervasive harms that ‘clients’ perpetrate on prostituted women and girls, who constitute the overwhelming majority of individuals bought and sold in the sex trade.
“In our discourse about prostitution, we only talk about the prostituted, rarely of the pimp and never about the ‘client,'” says Ms. Hicher, who is also a member of SPACE International – a global advocacy network of sex trade survivors. “Today, France has come to understand that without buyers, the business of prostitution would not exist. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but today, we won.”
Some general details of the new law are as follows:
(1) Aims to protect exploited persons in the sex trade;
(2) Offers access to financial compensation for victims of prostitution and trafficking;
(3) Mandates the implementation of a National exit policy to give victims access to social services, including housing, and the creation of school programs to discuss sexual commodification and exploitation;
(4) Grants temporary residency permits to foreign victims of sex trafficking.
For full information, please see
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person