The brutal murder of a Peruvian transgender prostitute in Paris, France, has sparked protests from sex workers and LGBT activists who say the country’s criminalization of prostitution leaves prostitutes particularly vulnerable to robbery and murder.
Vanesa Campos, 36, was shot and killed in the Bois de Boulogne — a park known to be a pick-up area for prostitutes — after she attempted to protect a client who was being robbed by an estimated 10 men armed with knives, sticks and a handgun, according to a police source who spoke to Le Parisien. Latina prostitutes working nearby said they heard gunshots and Campos yelling out the word, “Todas!” — a Spanish word that translates to “all women” and that served as a code word prostitutes use when they need help. But by the time they arrived, they said she was already on the ground and had to retreat after more shots were fired. Eight people have been arrested in connection with the killing, and five charged with murder and robbery, according to AFP.
In the wake of the attack, hundreds marched in protest on Friday to demand “Justice for Vanesa” and to call on the French government to repeal a law that criminalizes the purchase of sex — a measure that critics say forces prostitutes to work in isolated and dangerous locations to avoid police.
“The law is 100% responsible for Vanesa’s death,” protester Giovanna Rincon told AFP.
Advocates for the 2016 law have portrayed it as an improvement on past laws targeting prostitution, noting that it doesn’t target sex workers for arrest and that it helps foreign prostitutes achieve temporary residence permits if they pursue jobs other than prostitution.
Read the full story at BBC News.