What to Read Next

French stars sign petition against plan to ban prostitution

16 November 2013
Actress Catherine Deneuve addresses a news conference to promote the movie "Elle s'en va" at the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Files
Actress Catherine Deneuve addresses a news conference to promote the movie "Elle s'en va" at the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Files

PARIS (Reuters) - A group of French celebrities including singer Charles Aznavour and actress Catherine Deneuve have signed a petition against a socialist proposal to punish clients of prostitutes.

Next week, a French parliament committee will review a proposal by the ruling socialist party faction to scrap sanctions on soliciting and instead punish prostitutes' customers with fines. Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal in December.

"Without supporting or promoting prostitution, we refuse the criminalisation of people who prostitute themselves and those who use their services," some 70 French celebrities, including former socialist culture minister Jack Lang, said in a statement published in French media on Saturday.

Ageing French singer Antoine, who took the initiative for the petition, told French daily Le Figaro the government should continue fighting sexual slavery but should not criminalise prostitution and that those who prostitute themselves should have the same rights as other workers.

Prostitution is not illegal in France, which has an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 prostitutes according to a 2012 report by the Scelles Foundation, but there are laws against pimping, human trafficking and soliciting sex in public.

Tolerance for prostitution in France lies in a middle ground between attitudes in the Netherlands and Germany, where registered sex workers pay taxes and receive health benefits, and Sweden, where tough laws target clients.

France's minister for women's rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, caused a stir last year by saying she would seek to make prostitution disappear by punishing those who pay for sex, rather than the prostitutes themselves.

Singer Alain Souchon, who also signed the petition, said the government should not intervene with those who have chosen to prostitute themselves for easy money.

"Let them do what they want. They give tender services to so many lost souls. Leave them their clients," he told Le Figaro. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq)

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

New Studies Show that if you drive less than 55 miles a day you can save a ton on auto insurance.

10 Retirement Income Tips You Can’t Ignore

If you have a $500,000 portfolio, download the guide by Forbes columnist Ken Fisher’s firm. It’s called, “The Definitive Guide to Retirement Income.”

What Causes Heartburn

Wondering What Causes Heartburn? Learn About Causes of Heartburn, Including the Types of Food That Can Trigger Heartburn.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

How To Make Sagging Skin Look Tight and Lifted

[Watch] The easy and effective way consumers across the country are improving the look of their wrinkled and sagging skin without cosmetic procedures.

Insane Navy Seal Flashlight, should it be banned?

The Military has recently released technology that is now available to the public. Get yours before they run out - Limited Supply!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Are You Parenting a Teenager?

Raising teenagers can be challenging. If you need help understanding why your teens do the things they do, sign up for our free teen email series.

Missed Open Enrollment? You can still buy Medigap!

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period isn't the only time to buy Medigap coverage. You can actually buy at any time of the year.

Delta Reserve Credit Card

Earn Up To 40,000 Medallion Qualification Miles. Apply Now!

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

How Older Men Tighten Their Skin

Men, reduce the look of wrinkles, sagging skin and fine lines with this affordable and effective skin tightening treatment without leaving your home.

Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Must Read This

United States drivers are surprised that they never knew this. If you drive less than 50 mi/day, you better read this...

Upscale Community in Beautiful Noblesville

Slater Woods offers up to 1/2-acre homesites with pond views, walkout basements, tree-line yards, plus 3 new ranch floorplans! Priced from the $320s.