Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Prostitutes cleared in first Paris trial over law against 'passive' solicitation

PARIS — Three prostitutes were acquitted Monday in a trial that marked the first test in Paris of a new anti-crime law forbidding even "passive" solicitation of potential customers.

The Paris court acquitted the three defendants and threw out the case against a fourth, citing a lack of evidence. State prosecutors had sought unspecified fines against the women.

The four women were taken into police custody early last month after residents of the working-class Paris neighborhood where they were working complained to authorities, according to police.

Parliament passed an anti-crime bill in March that also included broad measures to increase police powers, tighten gun laws and penalize panhandlers and loiterers.

The law also set prison terms of up to six months and fines for "passive solicitation" by prostitutes, a vaguely defined term based on "their dress or their attitude."

Hundreds of prostitutes, many wearing white masks with tears painted on them, marched in protest of the proposed law in Paris last November. France's center-right government swept to power last summer on pledges to combat prostitution as part of a wide effort to stem rising crime.

[World 2003] [News by region] [News by topic]

Created: May 9, 2003
Last modified: May 9, 2003
CSIS Commercial Sex Information Service
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710