Anna Smith, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent, reports from Vancouver… Anna is a director of the Triple-X Workers Solidarity Association of British Columbia. She has strong views.
Vanesa Campos was a sex worker from Peru who was working in France to support her family in Peru, after the death of her father.
She was shot to death by five men in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris this summer. The men were trying to rob her client, a crime they had already committed numerous times.
The police in Paris are currently more concerned to catch men who see sex workers than catching robbers. The ‘johns’ have become easy targets due to France’s new ‘client’ law, because they are afraid to report robberies to the police, in case they are implicated.
But the five men who shot Vanesa have now been apprehended and are awaiting trial.
Vanesa’s death has sparked international protests – in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, in Latin America and in Vancouver.
I spoke with Guillaume Roy, the French Consul in Vancouver, on Friday to express my sadness that a cultured country like France is trying to abolish prostitution. Well, actually, he is the Deputy Consul, but a consul is still a consul.
The new ‘client’ law in France means that the clients of sex workers are arrested if they try to obtain the services of a sex worker. The sex workers are not arrested but treated as ‘ victims’ of these evil men who want to compensate them for sex (or for simply spending time with the worker, which is often the case).
Prosecuting the clients is known as ‘the Nordic Model’, because it originated in Sweden.
The workers in Sweden are not arrested. Instead, they are forced to participate in psychological counselling, evicted from their apartments, forfeit their property (dwelling place) and have their children removed from their custody.
They are then ‘re-educated’ on how to integrate with ‘normal society’, which is absurd because I think most sex workers already know how to do that. I would argue that they are helping society to function, by relaxing men and helping them to relax and cope with stresses of modern life.
Politicians in many countries in Europe and in England and Canada are trying to introduce ‘the Nordic Model’. The Nordic Model makes working conditions much more dangerous for sex workers because they are then forced into working in more clandestine situations: outdoors in parks and alleyways and in isolated industrial areas.
Also, due to the Nordic Model, more and more newspapers and internet services like Craigslist and Backpage are afraid of prosecution so no longer carry the contact info for sex workers, making them unable to negotiate with or select customers prior to meeting them in person.
Besides, calling the law ‘The Nordic Model’ is misleading and sounds ridiculous.
I like to call it ‘The Nordic Method’ so it sounds like some archaic type of birth control.
In Vancouver last Friday, the Vanesa Campos protest demo was organised by Poison Pompadour and myself. After our demo, Poison Pompadour took all the protest people for cocoa and coffee at a nearby cafe. Then the two of us went for a beer and hamburgers.
I marvelled that the French Deputy Consul had come into the hallway outside the consulate to speak with us. He was alone, unencumbered by secretaries.
There was only the Sikh security guard who normally waits at a little table outside the Consulate door. The Deputy Consul listened patiently as we explained why we were there and took our petition in his hands. The Sikh security guard took a group photo of us, with my phone.
“Well,” Poison Pompadour said to me: “Imagine how boring the things he normally has to do are as Deputy Consul. Talking with French tourists who tell him: I have lost my camera…. It is not every day he has twenty sex workers come to his office.“
… CONTINUED HERE …