a collective attacks the ban on parking vans in Gerland

The prefecture had issued an order prohibiting the parking of vans in the Gerland sector. A measure decried by associations which denounce the consequences on the finances and health of sex workers.

An “emergency situation for women who freely exercise sex work”. The Red Umbrella Federation, bringing together collectives of community health and defense of the rights of sex workers, announced on Wednesday that it was appealing against the prefectural decree prohibiting the parking of vans in the Gerland sector in Lyon.

The prefect of the Rhône had taken this decree at the beginning of May concerning twenty streets in the Gerland district, advancing in particular “disorders of public tranquility” generated by prostitution activities.

An attack on the “fundamental rights of these women”

The Red Umbrella Federation denounces measures that “infringe the fundamental rights of these women and harm their well-being and safety”.

“This arbitrary decision has resulted in the confiscation and impounding of the vans of women who live there without exercising a professional activity at the time of the seizure”, declared the Federation in a press release published on Wednesday.

She also points to the “illegality” of this measure, which amounts to evicting sex workers from their homes, in addition to the financial losses linked to the ban on parking in Gerland.

“We cannot, under French law, evict you from your home, whatever the home. Whether you live in a mansion or whether you live in a van on the side of the road”, denounces Elie Weiss, lawyer for the Red Umbrella Federation, at the microphone of BFM Lyon.

A desire “to oust sex workers”

The group even goes so far as to denounce measures that endanger the health of sex workers, who no longer have access to health professionals because of the movement of their van.

“As a result, many women have not been able to benefit from HIV screening tests and may not be aware that they are infected and we have many exits from the care pathway: dentist, gynecologist, abortion, vaccinations, etc. ” regrets the Federation.

The Federation denounces a fight by the public authorities against sex work, which according to it has no real link with the arguments of disturbances to public order or an increase in violence put forward by the prefecture, but on the contrary a desire to ” eliminate” sex workers from the sector as the 2023 Rugby World Cup approaches, since Lyon is to host the New Zealand team.

“It is clear that the real purpose pursued by the prefecture is to evict sex workers from the plain of Gerland in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup, in order to improve its international image.”

The lawyer for the federation also denounces a perimeter “far too wide” concerned by the prefectural decree, since it includes streets “in which there is no problem”.

The Red Umbrella Federation has thus initiated a summary-suspension with the administrative court of Lyon. The latter should hold a hearing within ten days.

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