French Minister Under Fire in Indonesia, Thailand Sex Tourism Scandal

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand should resign for ethical reasons after admitting he paid for sex with Asian male prostitutes, an Indonesian child-protection commissioner said Friday. Mitterrand has been fighting for his political career amid alarm in France over his 2005 autobiographical novel "The Bad Life", which contains lurid descriptions of paying for "boys" in Indonesian and Thai brothels. In an emotional television appearance on Thursday, he denied the book described acts of paedophilia and said the prostitutes he used in Asia were adults, not "boys" as he called them in the book. He has previously said he used the term "boys" in his writings to describe all males. But Magdalena Sitorus, a member of Indonesia's Commission for Child Protection, doubted his sincerity and said the minister needed specialist care. "Ethically, he should resign," she told AFP, adding: "He should receive rehabilitation treatment." The nephew of late Socialist president Francois Mitterrand found himself at the centre of a political storm after his outspoken defence of filmmaker Roman Polanski, who is being held in Switzerland on a US warrant for an outstanding conviction for sex with a 13-year-old girl. Left and right-wing politicians have demanded he respond to the allegations that his memoir endorses sex tourism. The 62-year-old told TF1 television that he "absolutely" condemned sex tourism and pedophilia but he acknowledged that he had "committed an offence against the idea of dignity, human dignity". The hero of his book expresses feverish excitement and guilt as he pays for sex with "boys" of unstated age. "All the rituals of this market of youths, this slave market, excite me enormously," the book says.

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