is a program to combat violence against sex workers during their day to day activities. Sex workers are more likely to be the targets of violence because they are stigmatized, marginalized by repressive laws against prostitution or by social reprobation.
To combat violence against sex workers, we also need to combat stigma. Defending your rights is a militant act that can also protect other people. We can support you in the process and help you, including accompanying you. This program is a partnership with Médecins du Monde Lotus Bus and les Amis du Bus des Femmes, organizations who work with and for sex workers.
⇒ Be alert and trust your instincts. ⇒ Feel free to use a personal alarm or a whistle if you feel unsafe. ⇒ Be careful with objects that can be used against you (such as tear gas, guns, etc.). ⇒ Don’t keep all your money in the same place. ⇒ If you work alone, give the impression that you are not alone. ⇒ Talk as much as you can with your c olleagues. ⇒ Learn some phrases in French so that you can talk with your clients. ⇒ Learn some phrases in French which can help you talk to the police about where the assault happened. ⇒ Be careful with valuables while working (cellphones included)
⇒ Keep yourself safe – Go to a safe place. ⇒ See a doctor (possibly at the ER – Urgences) to get treated and get your condition recorded. If you don’t want to see a doctor, take pictures of yourself with evidence of the assault. ⇒ If you have been a victim of sexual assault without protection, you can get the morning after pill and a treatment against HIV (post exposure treatment or TPE) in the 36 hours after the assault (Sida Info Service: 0800 840 800). ⇒ Ask for a sick leave and a doctor’s certificate stating the number of work incapacity days (nombre de jours d’incapacité totale de travail (ITT)) and the psychological impact of the assault. ⇒ Ask for the contact details of any witnesses so they can testify for you.
⇒ You have the right to file a complaint whether you have a residency permit or not. However, if you do not have one, try to not go alone. ⇒ Police can offer you an interpreter if you do not speak French. ⇒ You have the right to file a complaint in any police station, not only the one nearest the location of the assault. ⇒ You can ask the police to issue you with a requisition for a medical examination at the Medical-Legal Unit. (In French, l’unité médico-judiciaire (UMJ)) to have your psychological and physical condition recorded. It’ll be very useful later on. ⇒ Ask the police for a receipt of the complaint AND a copy of the minutes. ⇒ If you do not want to file a complaint at the police station, you can file a complaint through the Public prosecutor. However, you will be need to be heard by the police during the investigation, and the investigation will take more time.
⇒ Keep all the material items that can be useful for the investigation if you press charges (even long after the assault): clothes, used condoms, all the things the assailant touched, etc. ⇒ Feel free to contact your friends, an organization and talk about it, if you feel the need to. ⇒ As a victim, you can be assisted by a lawyer, ask for compensation and have psychological support.