Paris: Members of the French Parliament on Tuesday passed a law that makes it illegal to pay for sex and imposes fines of up to €3,750 (Rs 2 lakh) for those buying sexual acts. Those convicted would also have to attend classes to learn about the conditions faced by prostitutes.

The controversial legislation has been passed after more than two years because of differences between the two houses of parliament.

Some sex workers protested against the law during the final debate. The demonstrators outside parliament in Paris, numbering about 60, carried banners and placards ,one of which read, “Don’t liberate me, I’ll take care of myself.”

Members of the Strass, a sex workers’ union, say the law will affect the livelihoods of France’s sex workers, estimated to number between 30,000 and 40,000. Prostitution is not a crime in France, but pimping, human trafficking, brothels and buying sex from a minor are all already against the law.