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Leonid Bershidsky

The Right Way to Regulate Prostitution

Punishing johns won't work. Make them watch out for illegal trafficking instead.
A seedy business.

A seedy business.

Photographer: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

In recent days, two major European countries, France and Germany, have moved to amend their prostitution laws to make it riskier to pay for sex. The French and German approaches, however, are fundamentally different.

France decided this week, after almost three years of deliberations, to switch to the so-called Swedish or Nordic model, which exists in Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Northern Ireland: Sex work is legal, but paying for it isn't. Johns will be fined 1,500 euros ($1,700) for the first offense and 3,700 euros for the second.