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France follows Sweden in making John not the Doe a criminal

FRANCE has followed Sweden's lead in criminalising those who pay for sex, rather than prostitutes for soliciting it.

Under the new French law, people found guilty of hiring a prostitute for sex will pay a first-time fine of $2250 and more than double that for a repeat offence.

They will also have to attend classes to learn about the harm caused by the sex trade.

Sex workers are divided on the issue.

Their union argues the new law will affect the livelihoods of the country's 30,000-40,000 prostitutes, but other groups say it will allow prostitutes to file a complaint to police without fear of being charged with a criminal offence.

Supporters of the law also point to its likely effect on human trafficking for the sex trade. An estimated 80-90% of France's sex workers are victims of trafficking networks.

Some sex workers protested outside parliament in Paris during the final debate on the new law.

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