Bordel militaire de campagne

A BMC in Morocco in the 1920s

Bordels Mobiles de Campagne or Bordel Militaire de Campagne (both abbreviated to BMC) is a French term for the mobile brothels which were used during World War I, Second World War, and First Indochina War to supply prostitution services to French soldiers who were facing combat in areas where brothels were unusual, such as at the front line or in isolated garrisons.[1][2] In France, brothels were outlawed in 1946 by the "loi Marthe Richard". In the French Foreign Legion (Légion Etrangère), they were in use until the late 1990s, when a scandal revealed that a staff of three was officially employed by a military unit of 100 men in Africa.

The last operational B.M.C. in territorial France, was operated by the 2nd. Regiment of the Foreign Legion in the town of Calvi, Corsica; it was closed in 1978. The last BMC to close in France's overseas territories was the one operated Kourou, closed in 1995. Until 2003, a BMC was in operation in a military base of the Foreign Legion in Djibouti.

These mobile brothels were in some cases officially organized by the army. They consisted of large trailer trucks in which up to ten women would work.[3] The first references to these BMC's were in World War I, and they are noted particularly in the Indochina War and the Algerian War. In the Indochina War, the French used women from the Ouled Naïl tribe of the highlands of Algeria.[4] BMC's were known to have a significant role in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases[3] and were an avenue of attack by female Viet Minh sympathizers.[5] There was a vast BMC in Saigon known as "the park of the buffaloes", and in January 1954, a BMC containing Vietnamese and Algerian prostitutes[6] was flown to Dien Bien Phu.[2] Here, the prostitutes became nursing assistants for the French garrison during the siege, though they were sent for reeducation by the Viet Minh after the French garrison fell.[6]

See also


  1. World Association of International Studies article, retrieved on March 10, 2007
  2. 1 2 The Last Valley Martin Windrow, 2004
  3. 1 2 The International Encyclopaedia of Sexuality: Vietnam, retrieved on March 10, 2007
  4. Bernard B. Fall, Street Without Joy: The French Debacle in Indochina, Pen & Sword, 1961, p.133, ISBN 978-0811732369
  5. Vietnam, a war lost and won, Nigel Cawthorne
  6. 1 2 IHT article, retrieved on March 10, 2007
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