Lyon. Sex workers, “voiceless victims” who want to be heard

    Lyon. Sex workers, “voiceless victims” who want to be heard

    By Laurette Duranel
    Published on

    Sex workers held up red umbrellas, a symbol of their cause, in front of Lyon city hall (Rhône). (© LD / Actu Lyon)

    They were several dozen – more than a hundred according to the associations – to have gathered at the foot of the town hall of Lyon (Rhône), this Thursday, December 17, 2020, international day for the elimination of violence against sex workers (TDS). They are asking the town hall to put an end to the repressions against them.

    “Voiceless victims”

    It is very moved that Cybele Lespérance, general secretary of STRASS, sex work union in France, spoke this Thursday evening. Moved, because once again this year, sex workers have been victims of violence. “Several people found themselves disabled after attacks in Lyon,” blows the activist.

    They suffer physical or psychological violence on a daily basis. ” Me I experience a lot of online harassment. Now I capture everything to file complaints, ”explains Beverly, escort and cam-girl in Lyon.

    If she admits to having “shielded herself a lot” in the face of insults, she still despairs of not seeing any of her legal proceedings succeed.

    Just when it’s a cisgender woman who wants to file a complaint for violence, she is rarely well received, so when you’re trans and sex workers …

    Beverly RubyEscort and cam-girl in Lyon

    She hammers it: “It is not because we sleep for money that we have no feelings or no right to protection.” Like the other sex workers present this evening, they expect action and strong assistance from the State.

    We need money, because many of our sisters are breaking the bank, are exposed to aggressors, violence. We are asking that our vulnerable and precarious colleagues be protected everywhere in France.

    Cybele LespéranceGeneral Secretary of Strass, Sex Work Union in France

    In Lyon, “the new town hall must change things”

    However, at the national level, everything seems to have stopped. Cybèle Lespérance, who was able to discuss this afternoon with Elisabeth Moreno, the Minister for Gender Equality, is a little dejected. “They took us from one ministry to another,” she blurted out.

    So before moving the government, the associations hope at least shake things up in Lyon, “One of the most repressive cities” towards sex workers.

    Until now, orders put in place by Gérard Collomb are still in force and push the TDS out of the city center, explains Cybèle Lespérance. “There are tows here at least three times a week,” she continues.

    There should be no penalty (as said in the 2016 law). These municipal decrees must be removed, this will ease the climate with the police. And that people rest assured, it will not be the party of the underpants after.

    Cybele LespéranceGeneral Secretary of Strass, Sex Work Union in France

    It seems their call has been heard: “The elect have passed”, rejoices Cybèle Lespérance. Already during the day, the health assistant, Céline de Laurens had taken a first step by publishing a Tweet about the international day for the elimination of violence against TDS.

    But we will surely have to wait a little longer before the decried decrees are amended or deleted.

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