In a welcome development for the welfare of women and children in particular, France may join other European countries in criminalising the purchase of sex.

According to a Guardian news story, a group of French MPs have made the recommendation, saying 80 per cent of prostitutes in the country are victims of slavery and trafficking.

Already, Sweden, Norway and Iceland have passed legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex in recognition that prostitution is an issue of female equality and human rights.

The scheme in Sweden has been very successful, with the Swedish police saying in the Prohibition of the purchase of sexual services[ii] report last year that its ban on the purchase of sex acts was a barrier to human traffickers and procurers who are considering establishing themselves in Sweden.

The Australian Christian Lobby is calling for similar legislation to be passed in Australia and recently made a submission to the ACT Prostitution Inquiry to that effect. The ACL believes the Swedish approach the only model that lessens the amount of women exploited in prostitution.