On the night of August, 16 Vanessa Campos was murdered In Paris. Vanessa was a migrant trans sex worker, a colleague and a friend. STRASS published a statement available here:
[Statement in English]
Our colleague Vanessa Campos was murdered
Once again we are in shock. On the night of August 16-17, we received several messages and calls from colleagues from the Bois de Boulogne reporting the aggression and death of Vanessa.
7 to 8 men attacked her. This follows other previous attacks. It was probably be a gang of men who regularly assault sex workers and their clients to rob them. This phenomenon of gang of men targeting female sex workers is currently developing throughout the Ile de France (Paris) region. The sex workers who try to organize and defend themselves and chase them are then attacked separately.
Today we mourn this loss and feel as usual abandoned. The murders of trans women sex workers are not rare. This is a recurring phenomenon and we regularly try to alert public opinion and the authorities to this violence. Unfortunately, as always, we find ourselves alone.
Why does the life of trans women migrant sex workers matter so little? Why are our deaths treated only as news? Why are journalists so ignorant or so disrespectful that they say “a transvestite prostitute” is dead and continue to begrudge us into death? Does a life of a whore not count?
We have inside us this strange impression that our dead do not arouse any emotion. For us, there is never national mourning. There is never an official commemoration. The political class remains silent. Once the sensationalist press articles are over, it’s the return to silence, and we have to go back to work with fear, waiting to be next.
Our deaths are normalized. A whore who dies is a bit like a video game character that gets killed, it does not matter. It’s a bit like a sexist joke, people laugh, then move on.
A woman who has been killed is only a “travelo” (“tranny”), the insult we hear every day from passers-by, and this remark that we face all our lives, including in political movements that call themselves progressive and feminist:
“You are not a real woman.” And we fully understand what it means, that we are not part of that normal humanity that is entitled to the respect of her life. We are treated like a subspecies, that we can crush like an insect, to the point that the police, those who are paid to protect the ‘normal’ citizens, harass us daily, give us fines and destroy our tents with cutters, call us “sir” to humiliate us, and place us in detention in male cells, where we are assaulted by our fellow prisoners.
A migrant woman killed is a person who is thought to have no ties in France anyway. It’s one less undesirable. There will be no one to protest when her case will be closed, because her family, if they has not rejected her, is too far away to deal with it.
Her family is us. We will go on with our lives carrying her in our memories. We continue to live hoping that by resisting, things will perhaps improve a little for those younger ones who will take our place after us.
Everyone knows the political, legislative, administrative and social context in which we live. Everyone will understand and judge what facilitates or not this violence. We do not need to insist on the denunciation we already carry all the time.
We still have sadness, bitterness, and anger.
We are thinking about future actions in the coming days and call for mobilization against violence.
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