Last week, after a visit to the cinema with a girl friend, she hopped into my car and I drove her to her car a few hundred metres away. We chatted in my car for a few minutes saying goodbye, when suddenly, there was a knock on the car window. The two of us jumped out of our skins before realising that we were being propositioned by a dirty old man. Unwittingly, we had parked up in an area known for soliciting, and in Perpignan, the ladies of the night like to hang out in their own cars. We belted him with our handbags and hightailed it out of there - the cheek of him!!
Prostitution is not illegal in France , although brothels ( maisons closes) and advertising your wares are .. most prostitutes do their business out of their parked car, very discreetly, or in their vans as is the case in Lyon:
|Prostitutes in Lyon doing their business in vans|
There isn't the same taboo about prostitution in France as there is in other European countries .. the "traditional" sex worker is a part of society, the French "Fille de Joie" holding her own place in France's cultural heritage ( and in every french town!). In fact, a traditional independent "madame" can make up to 500euros per day..
France does pride itself on being relaxed about sexual practices and the oldest profession in the world is allowed within certain parameters. However, there are moves to change all this as France's parliament has backed a proposal to fight prostitution by making payment for sex a crime punishable by fines and prison.
There is, of course a darker side to the romantic 'Pretty Woman" image and with over 30,000 working in the sex industry (80% of these estimated to be foreigners), one wonders would new legislation just make the industry go deeper into the very seedy underworld?