French Senate: falsified testimony about prostitution
The proposed bill against the prostitution system, adopted by the National Assembly, has still not been put on the voting agenda of the French Senate. For the bill’s opponents, the ends justify the means.
On May 20, 2014, a Senate Special Commission heard Swedish police inspector Simon Häggström, attached to the Stockholm anti-prostitution squad and a crucial witness to evaluate the fifteen years of implementing the law punishing the buyers/prostitutors.
Zéromacho can demonstrate that the account given of his testimony has been shortened and falsified on several important points.
The three main arguments used to oppose the criminalization of “clients” are the following:
• prostituted persons will be endangered as the law will allegedly make matters even worse
• prostitution will be relocated to places outside cities or abroad
• it will be impossible to locate contravening “clients” or to prove their guilt.
Inspector Häggstöm however demonstrates that the opposite is true. using the example of the Swedish situation, and it is precisely here that his statements have been cut or misconstrued.
Zéromacho demands that the exact text of Simon Häggström’s testimony be posted on the French Senate website and be distributed to all members of the special commission
The parts of the testimony that have been distorted are the following:
First point (0h30m on the video recording):
The inspector states: “The women in prostitution say that Sweden is a country safer than others. Many have sold sex before, in other European countries, and they say that the Swedes who come to see them are very much afraid, as they know that the police are on the lookout for them, and they know that they must behave well, because if they behave badly, the woman can call the police without her being punished, without incurring any form of punishment.”
The account given of this statement by the Senate dilutes this vital information by summarizing this as follows:
“Conversely, Sweden is alleged to be a safer country for prostituted women, especially as they know that they can complain to the police and that the clients know that, too.”
Inspector Häggström’s essential statement is completely undercut. Gone is the clients’ being “afraid”, their less aggressive attitude has been obliterated, and the prostituted women’s testimony is chucked out. All that remains is a vague impression given: Abroad, “Sweden is said to be..”
Second point (0h22 mins on the video recording):
The inspector tells us about the myths being spread: “One point of criticism is that the law will take clients to other countries: that is partly true, as 70% of the clients say that their last purchase of sex occurred in another country. But that proves that the law works, since Swedes do not dare to buy sex in Sweden. That is the reason why more countries must adopt this law or a similar legislation.”
The account given by the Senate to the commission distorts the statement and turns its meaning upside down:
“Although 70% of the clients state that their previous purchase of sexual services has taken place abroad, this mustn’t dissuade any country from acting as it sees fit.”
The “proof that the law works” has been erased, the “Swedes who do not dare buy sex” have been made to disappear and, above all, the call on other countries to “adopt this law or a similar one” has been eliminated.
In its place, we are made to hear that every country should act “as it sees fit”.
Third point (16m35s on the video recording):
A myth spread in France regarding the future of the law is that it would be impossible to prove the guilt of prostitution’s “clients”.
However, Inspector Häggstöm testifies that: “8 out of 10 clients admit to the crime immediately upon arrest. Without even our having to take them to the police station.”
The French Senate account translates this as follows: “The client can acknowledge the facts, which happens in the majority of cases.”
The point is, to say the least, diminished.
Follow-up on this intervention by Zéromacho:
– – Read “Bidouillages au Sénat” by Gérard Biard, in Charlie Hebdo, October 29, page 5.