A rare photo card shows a military field brothel in Morocco. Two dark skinned women pose with soldiers outside the tents used for the sexual encounters. The caption reads At Camp Arblou l’Arbi. The B.M.C.
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. In France brothels were outlawed in 1946 by the “loi de Marthe Richard”.
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. 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 former, BMC’s were known to have a significant role in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and were an avenue of attack by female Viet Minh sympathizers. 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 was flown to Dien Bien Phu. 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.