how prostitutes are supported by associations to escape networks

The government has unveiled a plan to combat prostitution. It is mainly a question of strengthening the existing systems since the 2016 law.



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The government unveiled a national strategy to combat prostitution on Thursday May 2 (BORIS ROESSLER / DPA via AFP)

A few weeks before the Olympic Games which will see millions of additional tourists flock to France, the government is reaffirming its desire to fight against prostitution networks. Thursday, May 2, he presented a national strategy to fight this scourge. It is “strengthen and harmonize the application of the law throughout the territory and better take into account new forms of prostitution”declared the Minister responsible for Equality between women and men, Aurore Bergé.

Hailed as a major step forward by abolitionists, the 2016 law notably repealed the offense of soliciting and replaced it with the penalization of customers, now liable to a fine of 1,500 euros – 3,750 euros in the event of a repeat offense.

But on the ground, the results are mixed: observers point to insufficient support for prostitutes wishing to leave and regional disparities in terms of client convictions. So, several associations, like Le Nid that Franceinfo met, are working to remove sex workers from the networks and allow them to reintegrate.

“Dirty money”

Hélène and Catherine followed the same path and suffered the law of the same illegal immigration networks: a debt to pay and prostitution as their only horizon for years before coming out of it through too much suffering and after meeting a marauding of the Le Nid association.

They are today with around fifteen other women in a house in Seine-Saint-Denis sheltered from pimps, in the process of reintegration, but above all reconstruction. “I saw that it was good, I had friends, we did it together, but afterwards there was too much violence. It gives you money, but it’s dirty money”testifies one. “I would like to tell my prostitute friends to stop letting themselves be manipulated by this job. I see the light. As soon as I have my papers, I am going to do my training as a caregiver and start living like everyone else with respect, like a woman!”, continues the other.

Dry up “the source”

The 2016 law allows prostitutes who leave the networks to obtain a temporary residence permit if necessary as well as a nest egg – financial aid for social integration (Afis) – of 342 euros per month for a maximum of two years. In the vast majority of cases, reintegration is a success, but there is a shortage of places in the centers and in day centers, often the first step on the long road back to normal life.

The other major aspect of the law is the penalization of the customer. It is still in its infancy, estimates Delphine Jarraud, general delegate of the Le Nid association.

“There are 40,000 people in prostitution, there are not even 2,000 people per year who are prosecuted. As long as we do not dry up the source, human exploitation will continue”

Delphine Jarraud, general delegate of the Le Nid association

at franceinfo

Clients who increasingly have to be sought out on the internet: street prostitution now only represents 20% of the phenomenon. A cyber-investigation unit will thus be responsible for detecting “situations of sexual exploitation, to delete accounts but also to dismantle networks and collect evidence to convict the pimps“. Finally, an awareness campaign will be launched as part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris this summer, during which the authorities have already indicated that they expect an influx of clients of prostitutes. However, the budgetary envelope The overall plan has not been communicated.

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