On April 6, 2016, France passed an abolitionist law against prostitution that criminalizes sex buyers but decriminalizes women in prostitution.
A major element of the French law is the provision of support and exit services for those in prostitution. “The most important aspect of this law is to accompany prostitutes, give them identity papers because we know that 85 percent of prostitutes here are victims of trafficking,” Maud Olivier, a lawmaker with the governing Socialists and a sponsor of the legislation, told The Associated Press.
The law sets aside 4.8 million euro each year for funding exit services, which 89% of those in prostitution urgently seek. Written by a group of lawmakers from both right and left with an overwhelming 64 members of the French National Assembly in favor and only 12 opposing, the legislation has been inspired by the 1999 Swedish law on prostitution.
The French National Assembly recognized the tremendous level of violence in prostitution, including assault, rape, physical and psychological torture.The new French law further recognizes that prostitution harms all women (in prostitution or not) by undermining their emotional and physical wellbeing, security, health, and fundamental rights as human beings, harming society as a whole.