The day, as dense as it is strong, ends with the words of “survivors”. Women who have come out of the hell of prostitution and who bear witness to violence, suffering and oppression. In front of them, those who feed the system from the base: ordinary customers who have been caught for the first time.
“#The profiles are of all ages and very varied, both a father with the car seat in the back of the car and a passing driver,” summarizes Ingrid Görden, deputy prosecutor of the Pontoise public prosecutor’s office.
To these customers suffering from a 5th class fine set at a fine of 1,500 euros, the courts offer an alternative to prosecution, by having them follow at their own expense (180 euros) an awareness training course on the fight against the purchase of sexual acts. The principle provided for by the 2016 law on prostitution was established in 2019 in the department of Val-d’Oise.
“They buy a human being”
At each monthly session, around ten participants gather for the course organized in partnership with the association Agir pour la réinsertion sociale (ARS 95) and the support of the Scelles Foundation which fights the exploitation of prostitutes, 85% of whom are women. And the vast majority (93%) of victims are of foreign origin.
“#Customers need to realize that buying a sex act is not a trivial purchase, as they would in a supermarket. They are in fact buying a human being, ”notes Ingrid Görden.
Four modules divide the awareness day during which also intervene a psychologist and a specialized gendarme who will come to remind the framework of the law. Since 2016, the offense of soliciting has been abolished. At the same time, the protection of the prostitute and the recognition of his victim status have been more clearly established and the accountability and penalization of the client, too. In the event of a repeat offense, the offense turns into an offense and the perpetrator risks a fine of 3,750 euros.
Awareness courses to be developed
But a report submitted in December 2019 by the general inspectorates of justice, administration and social affairs points to “implementation of the law considerably hampered by a lack of proactive commitment from the public authorities”.
The text “has not deployed sufficient resources” to achieve its objectives, according to the analysis of general inspections.
Newsletter The essential of 93
A tour of current events in Seine-#Saint-#Denis and the IDF
“The offense of resorting to the purchase of sexual acts created by law is little observed, with 1,939 people implicated in 2018 alone, concentrated in a small number of territories (Paris cumulates 50% of the proceedings)”, regret the authors of the report, who also stress that awareness training is “not very developed”. The Pontoise parquet is one of the exceptions.