In Saint Fons, near Lyon, 11 vans were evacuated by the police. A successful public tranquility operation. No more vans, but the women haven’t disappeared. In search of solutions, they recovered their vehicles to park elsewhere.
Eleven converted van-type vehicles were sent to the pound on Thursday January 20, 2022, around 9 a.m., in Saint Fons, in the Lyon Metropolis. These trucks had been parked for several weeks on Boulevard Lucien Sampaix. This remote axis but very accessible from the highway, is a strategic location for many car dealers installed on site.
Officially, the removal is justified by non-compliance with long-term parking rules. But the Town Hall also considers that the image of Saint-Fons cannot in the long term be associated with the presence of prostitutes installed in these vans.
“Beyond the punctual action, it is the fruit of daily work carried out by the municipal police officers who is rewarded”explains the municipality in a press release. “It is also a question of being involved and facilitating the work carried out by the National Police in the fight against sexual exploitation and human trafficking” specifies the mayor (DVG) Christian Duchêne, adding that he fact of the fight against the exploitation of prostitutes “a priority“.
A speech that the Cabiria association struggles to hear, which accompanies 1,500 people each year. One of the employees particularly regrets that “what matters is public tranquility and not being seen as lax”
In fact, one of the local businesses emphasizes that “we can only be pleased to see elected officials mobilized and effective in their actions”. One of the dealers describes many access difficulties for his customers, others prohibited “that they wouldn’t bother anyone”. “But what is hard is human misery. When we go to eat and pass in front of these windows, we imagine very difficult situations” commented an employee.
And it is precisely this paradox that the Cabiria association points out. “On the one hand on these as victims but on the other on don’t treat them as victims at all.”
During our telephone conversation with this employee who prefers to remain anonymous, one of the women whose van was removed walks through the door.
She has an appointment to ask for help in order to apply for housing. Her van, parked a few days ago in Saint-Fons, serves as her living and resting place, but she works elsewhere.
It will be necessary to wait several months before his housing application file is examined.
Some emergency solutions exist but at the margin. “On a budget of a few thousand euros to shelter women in the event of violence for example, but with 1500 people accompanied we are very quickly limited” we regret to Cabiria. “And yet we are overwhelmed by calls. Every day we have at least two or three attacks”
On April 5, a young woman died in a van fire in Meyzieu, east of Lyon. Mortar attacks, repeated thefts, rapes are reported daily to local associations. But no complaint is filed and therefore no legal action.
Since 2002, the implementation of anti-van orders in Perrache, Gerland, and Confluence has kept prostitutes away from the center of Lyon.
Now often installed around Saint Exupéry airport, or in the municipalities of Saint-Fons and Vénissieux, they are still regularly fined.
With several other women, the one who pushed the door of Cabiria five days after the removal of her van, recovered it then found another place to settle in a neighboring town.