Near the sprawling Bois de Boulogne public park in western Paris, a white van belonging to a trans sex worker has been completely wrecked. The bed is torn apart, the bumpers shattered and trash dumped on the ground around the vehicle. “This really pisses me off,” fumes Samantha as she surveys the damage to the van.

Samantha is a sex worker and employee of the Bus des Femmes – an organisation that works to provide sex workers in the area with a range of welfare services. She considers herself an expert on the Bois de Boulogne – where, in April of 2018, trans sex worker Vanessa Campos, 36, was killed while trying to protect a colleague from being robbed.

“You’re looking at a kind of intersectionality with these girls; the combined stigmas of being trans, a sex worker and an immigrant,” Françoise Gill, the president of Bus de femmes, later explains to me.

Samantha is on her weekly rounds to check in on the area’s sex worker community – a group that has felt considerably less safe since the French government introduced a €1,500 (£1,350) fine in 2016 for anyone caught paying for sex. Even though prostitution is legal in France, the fine was partly intended as a deterrent. But instead of working as planned, clients now regularly ask the women for sex in secluded areas to avoid the police. In a Médecins du Monde survey conducted with nearly 600 sex workers in France, 63 percent said they have seen their working conditions deteriorate, while 42 percent said they have experienced more violence since the law change.

Read the full article:

How Trans Sex Workers in Paris are coming together to stay safe by Manon Walquan and Edouard Richards

Jan. 11th, 2019