– Prostitution: Members of the European Parliament challenge the Government

via LES NOUVELLES NEWS – OP-ED (French version here)

« In Europe, as in France, let us finally adopt a major abolitionist policy with regard to prostitution and human trafficking! »

Posted on 5/22/14

By Nicole Kiil-Nielsen (EELV – Greens GER); Sophie Auconie (UDI – PPE); Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Front de Gauche – GUE ); Pervenche Berès (PS – PSE)

With the support of Mikael Gustafsson (GUE – Sweden) EuroParl large


French Members of the European Parliament, we have supported and brought to adoption on February 26, 2014, a resolution on « prostitution, sexual exploitation and their impact on gender equality. »  We are proud and confident about this move: This landmark resolution will long be remembered in progressive European history!


Firstly, because calling prostitution and its exploitation « human rights violations contrary to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights » and barriers to equality between women and men, the European Parliament sends a very strong political signal to those Member States where sharp divisions still appear to reign.


Secondly, because this resolution could help put an end to a 15-year cycle of liberal-pimping. It is indeed at the heart of the European Union that states such as Germany and the Netherlands have theorized and implemented the legal exploitation of women’s bodies in the name of recognizing « sex work » and have decriminalized pimping by making pimps into « sex entrepreneurs ». Ten years after the implementing of these laws, the findings are clear: the pimps and their international human trafficking networks have prospered from the legalization of the « sex market » and this at the expense of prostituted person who are constantly younger, more vulnerable and from less developed third-party countries.


This is the third major step forward facilitated by this parliamentary resolution: it clears the way for a profound overhaul of EU policy against the trafficking in human beings. Following our resolution of February 26, 2014, Europol has, for the first time, publicly acknowledged in the European Parliament that human trafficking was on the rise, particularly in the countries that had legalized « sex work. » This admission previously certified in an international study by British and German economists, should allow for a shift of the present European policy against trafficking in human beings, undermined as it is by the political inability of institutions and Member States to tackle the root causes of trafficking which are the development of « national markets » and the impunity awarded to pimps and sex purchasers.


In this respect, we welcome the resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on April 8, 2014. This resolution does recognize the failure of the European policy against human trafficking and urges Member States to « consider criminalizing the purchase of sexual services, based on the Swedish model, as the most effective tool to prevent and counter human trafficking. »


In this context, we emphatically state that France now faces a historic opportunity and responsibility to finally lead to fruition the excellent parliamentary multi-party efforts conducted since 2010 in the field. The rapid adoption of a bill strengthening the fight against the prostitution system and the support we owe its victims is not only an imperious necessity for the sake of justice and of support for victims of this exploitation of the most vulnerable; it is also an opportunity to reorient French and European policy in the struggle against human trafficking by demonstrating through concrete actions that the exploitation of women and their bodies and the enslavement of the most vulnerable should never ever be a source of profits for national and international criminal networks.


France is looked to by all those who want, in France as in Europe, better protection for the rights of women to live free of any violence and for the rights of the most vulnerable people to live with dignity. We therefore look to a strong commitment from the Government and from all political groups sitting in the Senate in support of the adoption, as soon as possible, of this major proposal of a comprehensive and coherent legislation to strengthen the fight against the prostitution system and in support for its victims.



Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, MEP (EELV – Greens GER)

Sophie Auconie, MEP (UDI – PPE)

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, MEP (Front de gauche – GUE)

Pervenche Berès, MEP (PS – PSE)

With the support of:

Mikael Gustafsson, President of the FEMM Committee of the European Parliament (GUE -Sweden)