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French MPs on Tuesday approved a new law that proponents say will protect sex workers by shifting the burden of the offense onto clients, but some prostitutes are crying foul.

The French union of sex workers (Strass, its acronym in France) called on members and supporters to protest the “repressive” bill outside the National Assembly, where lawmakers adopted the reform into law.

The legislation outlaws paying for sex, imposes fines for clients and overturns the existing ban on solicitation. In an unprecedented move, the bill also makes available €4.8 million per year to help sex workers quit the trade.

The comprehensive approach, which envisions an eventual eradication of prostitution, has earned support among other French organisations that assist and defend sex workers.

The law comes after more than two years of political wrangling, spurring heated debates – even among prostitutes – on the controversial topic.

The new law does nothing to help sex workers – of whom there are around 30,000 in France, according to official estimates – and even makes them more vulnerable, according to Strass.

Around a dozen organisations, which included Strass, but also Doctors of the World and France’s leading AIDS advocacy group, further argued that the measures to help sex workers transition to a new life was misguided and underfunded.

The law stipulates people have to stop prostituting themselves in order to qualify for cash stipends and other aid. “How can someone stop sex work without residency papers [which allows someone to legally live in France], long-term housing, or sufficient cash allocations?” the group asked in a statement, highlighting the fact that up to 80% of prostitutes in France are foreigners.

Pimping is illegal across Europe, but France is only the fifth to punish prostitute’s clients. The other countries are the UK, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

(1 Corinthians 6:13) You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Have you not known that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in you, which you have from God? And ye are not your own.

Written by TCE Global News