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French lower house backs new prostitution law

The French lower house of parliament passes a reform of a prostitution law imposing fines on clients. Lawmakers voted 268 in favor and 138 against - giving France some of the most restrictive legislation on prostitution in Europe. Around 100 sex workers gathered outside the French parliament, furious by the ruling. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SEX WORKER, OPHELIA, SAYING: "We need our clients, and our clients need us. It goes both ways. If not, the repercussions will be vast. There will be rapes. Men will be drinking and taking drugs and will force girls into doing things. Clandestine workers will offer even lower prices. The mafia will rise. It will be a mess. What will happen will be horrible. Frankly, the problem will be 10 thousand times bigger." Those seeking to buy sex will face a 1,500-euro fine, while the act of soliciting itself will no longer be punished. Some prostitutes plan to leave France for a less restrictive European country. (SOUNDBIT

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