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French bill punishing prostitutes' clients is being debated again at Parliament

  • Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, demonstrate in front of the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

    Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, demonstrate in front of the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)  (The Associated Press)

  • Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, demonstrate in front of the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

    Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, demonstrate in front of the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)  (The Associated Press)

  • Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, demonstrate in front of the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

    Femen activists chanting slogans and carrying signs reading: Abolition of Prostitution, No Demand No Offer, demonstrate in front of the French National Assembly in Paris, Friday June 12, 2015, asking for the abolition of prostitution. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)  (The Associated Press)

A bill which aims to make it illegal to buy sex is back at France's lower house of Parliament for the second time with the two houses sharply divided.

Supporters argue it would help fight human trafficking networks, while opponents defend those who buy sex from France's 40,000 prostitutes.

The lower house wants to penalize clients and lighten punishment for soliciting; the upper house wants the reverse, and rewrote the bill accordingly in March.

Prostitution is currently legal in France, but prostitutes are often arrested and charged for soliciting in public. Brothels, pimping, and the sale of sex by minors is also illegal.