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Five charged in Paris murder of transgender prostitute Vanesa Campos

Lionel Bonaventure, AFP | People take part in a march in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris on August 24, 2018, in tribute to Vanesa Campos, a transsexual sex worker who was killed the week before.

Five people were charged Monday 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.

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trans rights organisation Acceptess-T are calling for the 2016 law, which criminalises the buying of sex, to be repealed.

>> Flashback: Prostitutes divided as France bans paying for sex

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”.

(AFP)

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