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98% of sex workers are against the criminalization of clients

15 Sep 2019 16:09:07
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Survey on the criminalization of clients in France – 25 march 2015.

The survey on the criminalisation of clients is part of the project

 Emborders: problematising sexual humanitarianism through experimental filmmaking.

The project compares the impact of humanitarian interventions targeting migrant sex workers and sexual minority asylum seekers in the UK (London) and France (Marseille/Paris). Its methodological approach combines participant observation, the undertaking of 100 semi-structured qualitative interviews and the production of two experimental ethnographic films (ethnofictions).

Between March 2014 and March 2015 the qualitative approach of the project was completed with a survey of 500 women, men and transgender people working in the sex industry in order to find out what they thought about the criminalisation of the purchase of sex in France.

Main findings

98% of all respondents are against the criminalisation of clients, which they see asincreasing their vulnerability to violence and poverty by pushing the industryunderground and discouraging safer clients.

The small minority of respondents who were in favour of the criminalisation of clients were planning to leave the sex industry soon, which further corroborates the finding that people working in the sex industry are overwhelmingly against it.

Many respondents, both migrants and non-migrants, felt that the effects of the criminalisationof clients had partially been anticipated as prices had decreased and safer clients stoppedcalling for fear of being fined. These are the words of a 27 years old French escort based in Paris:

«The threat of criminalisation in the near future has already scared away some of my clients: the most respectful ones».

And these are the words of a 40 years old Algerian transvestite selling sex on the streets of Marseille:

«It is already happened. Every time there they talk about the law on TV clients go down, and then they come up again, slowly. I now do for 20 what I would not have even considered doing for 40 just a year ago. I get on cars I would not have gotten into. There are no clients. So you have to get what you can».

Survey in pdf format is available under the link

Marseille, 25 March 2015 

Nicola Mai

Originally published on https://www.academia.edu