Five charged with murdering transgender prostitute in Paris

Five people have been charged with murdering a transgender prostitute who was allegedly trying to stop them robbing her client in a Paris park, a case that has sparked fury amongst LGBT rights groups.

Five charged with murdering transgender prostitute in Paris
Photo: AFP

Vanesa Campos, a 36-year-old originally from Peru, was shot dead on the night of August 16-17 in the Bois de Boulogne, a large park on the French capital's western edge which has been used for years by sex workers.

Eight people were detained on Tuesday in connection with her death and five have now been charged with murder as well as robbery, a legal source said, adding that they had been remanded in custody.

Hundreds of sex workers and activists marched in Paris on Friday in memory of Campos, holding white roses and signs that said “Justice for Vanesa” as they chanted, “Trans murder, the state is complicit”.

LGBT groups have lashed out at an anti-prostitution law which they said had made Campos' work more dangerous.

Campaign groups including trans rights organisation Acceptess-T are calling for the 2016 law, which criminalises the buying of sex, to be repealed.

Campaigners say it has hit sex workers' incomes and forced them to work in more isolated locations so that their customers are not seen by the police — exposing them to a greater risk of assault.

Buying a prostitute's services is punishable with a fine in France of 1,500 euros ($1,750), rising to 3,750 euros for repeat offenders.

“The law is 100 percent responsible for Vanesa's death,” Acceptess-T leader Giovanna Rincon told AFP at the march on Friday, calling for “real measures to fight transphobia”.

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How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

France is set to announce new measures this week to prevent youngsters from accessing porn websites, in the latest round of a years-long struggle to protect children from explicit material.

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

“I plan to put an end to this scandal,” Digital Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Parisien newspaper on Monday.

France’s data protection and media regulators Cnil and Arcom are set to announce their latest proposals to rein in porn websites which are in theory subject to a 2020 law requiring age verification.

Previous attempts have been held up by privacy and technical concerns, as well as court action by the websites.

To its frustration last September, a Paris court ordered Arcom to enter into mediation with several porn websites including market leader Pornhub, holding up efforts to block them.

READ MORE: France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over ‘cookies’

Under the new proposal, people wanting to access explicit material will need to download a phone application that provides them with a digital certificate and code, the Parisien reported.

The code will be needed to access a porn website under a system “which will work a bit like the checks from your bank when you buy something online,” Barrot told the newspaper.

“2023 will mark the end of our children accessing pornographic sites,” he added.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to former school teacher Brigitte Macron, promised to make protecting children from porn a priority during his bid for re-election last year.

In November, he launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory, an initiative that aims to bring together industry giants and researchers to look for ways to shield minors online.

In September last year, a report entitled “Hell Behind the Scenes” by French senators concluded that there was “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children.

The report found that two thirds of children aged 15 or less had seen pornographic content.

The French production industry has been roiled by a series of sexual assault cases in recent years in which women have come forward to allege rape, mistreatment and manipulation by directors and fellow actors.