Women's groups urge EU ban on prostitution
BRUSSELS (AFP) - Around 200 women's groups on Tuesday urged the European Union (EU) to make paying for sex a crime on the grounds that prostitution violated women's rights.
"Prostitution is a form of violence, an obstacle to equality, a violation of human dignity, and of human rights," the European Women's Lobby (EWL), the largest umbrella group of women's rights groups in the 27-nation bloc, said at a conference in the European parliament.
The EWL called on the bloc to seek inspiration from Sweden, which outlawed paying for sex more than a decade ago though prostitution remains legal.
The group said that the number of people exploited in street prostitution had halved since 1999, while it tripled in Denmark and Norway for the same period.