Joint Press release by STRASS, French Union of Sex Workers, Acceptess-T, Act Up Paris, Aids, Cabiria, Collective March 8 for All, Women’s Collective of Strasbourg-Saint Denis, Transgender Support Strasbourg
On December 16th, around midnight, Thierry Schaffauser, founding member of STRASS, was distributing leaflets and condoms when he was arrested on the Barbès Boulevard, Paris in the 18th district.
He was accused of having spoken to a sex worker.
Two plainclothes police officers then committed acts of violence against him including strangulation and suffocation. He was handcuffed, with his hands in the back, and taken to the police station of La Goute d’Or without being notified of the reasons for his arrest and without being able to request the assistance of a lawyer. The sex worker he was talking to and gave condoms to was also arrested and taken to the same police station.
Homophobic and racist remarks were made during the arrest, incl. “it is because of people like you that mamas bring in African women for prostitution in France”.
Thierry Schaffauser has been examined by a doctor for forensic emergencies that issued four days d’ITT (temporary work interruption) and found numerous injuries directly related to the disproportionate and violent conditions of his arrest.
This illegal and unjustified arrest is just one of many examples of what sex workers experience throughout France, especially late in the year when it is time to reach quotas. It confirms police practice to intimidate clients and extort testimony against sex workers to stop them for soliciting.
It is also a glaring illustration of the increasing criminalisation of solidarity with prostitutes. The law on soliciting and any criminalisation of sex work are indeed an obstacle to any form of solidarity with sex workers and they only push them into complete isolation since the mere fact of talking with them makes you a suspect in the eyes of the police. If the penalisation of clients was to be adopted, it would increase this type of incident and confirm that it is forbidden to talk to sex workers.
A formal complaint will soon be submitted to the General Inspectorate of the National Police, with STRASS as a civil party.
To say no to all violence, including institutional and police, we will manifest tomorrow, on December 17th, in Paris, Lyon and Toulouse.
Ce message est également disponible en : French