red light

Well not exactly, because it’s already legal. Described by some as the oldest profession, the exchange of money for sex is still legal in many countries in Europe, including the UK.

Now don’t get alarmed, because although it is actually legal in the UK, similarly to France, many things surrounding prostitution are illegal. For example, the solicitation and procurement of prostitution including having sex with family members and those under the age of 18 are all illegal. The French trade union for sex workers, Syndicat du Travail Sexuel (STRASS), has said that current law leads to “increased violence and abuse” and “reduced rates” – something good for the customer, but not for the sex trade.

In a recent press release, STRASS said: “We demand the immediate and unconditional repeal of the offence of soliciting and an end to the criminalisation and repression of sex workers.”

The bill, originally filed by Senator Esther Benbassa in November 2012 was removed from discussion upon a request from the Minister of Women’s Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. It was re-submitted on March 28 for a further review. The new legislation attempts to legalis e the solicitation of prostitution in public. Often dubbed “curb crawling”, solicitation is currently a strict liability offence in the UK. Countries such as India and Hong Kong have similar laws to the UK and although Japan and Russia have legislation against prostitution, little is done to control their booming sex industries.

Currently eight countries in the EU, including tourism hotspots such as the Netherlands, Turkey and Germany, both legalise and regulate prostitution. The majority of countries in the EU have no law against prostitution. Despite this, in most cases, forced and organised prostitution such as brothels and many things surrounding it are illegal. Attitudes in the ‘western world’ differ. In the USA, prostitution is illegal in 49 of the 50 states – all of which have their own laws. Similarly, in Australia, the law also differs by state where it is both legal, and in some cases, regulated throughout the country.

Regardless of legality, the whole topic has a general negative social and cultural standing. Even where legally regulated, prostitutes are often criminalised receiving lesser healthcare and social services.



Thanks to TAB2003 for the picture.

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