Interview of Guillaume Lescaux, the first prosecutor to apply the new law on prostitution

article g lescaux fontainebleauIt is in his jurisdiction and for the first time that a client was arrested on May 1st 2016. The Fontainebleau prosecutor, Guillaume Lascaux, has reinforced the control of clients on his territory since that date.

How come you took these decisions?

I have been a prosecutor here since January 2016. I was quickly led to admit that, wherever in the forest a car can park, a woman is waiting; she is dropped in the morning and picked up in the evening. At the end of 2015, 80 prostituted persons were counted in Fontainebleau jurisdiction. I also heard the demand of all the partners I met (Prefecture, gendarmerie, local representatives…). Prostitution is jointly felt like a human drama, a « stain » on Fontainebleau image and an environmental problem.


Then the law on prostitution system was enforced in April 2016. As a consequence I developed a kind of device. The persons who are caught in the act are invited to follow the policeman and asked to undergo a period of training as a penalty. The lawmaker has planned a specific training, which is not yet implemented. It will be a course dealing with citizenship and will be applied for all types of offences.


What penalties do these people incur?

Up to now, 3 persons have been reported for this offence. In fact, they are prosecuted under a penal order; that is to say they won’t have to appear in a public hearing as I did not want any stigmatizing publicity. These persons will receive notification of the penal order commanding them to attend a course about citizenship within the 6 following months or (on pain of ) a 400 euro fine.


« You have to have a global view… »



Do you plan other measures?

I consider the penal side is only part of the question; you want to be a « global actor ». I got in touch with the women’s rights representative of the Prefecture, who must be our partner for the development of the way out of prostitution device. I am also to meet the Magdalena Association, a denominational NGO which hosts a housing and rehabilitation center in my jurisdiction. These women should be able to recover their dignity and an opportunity for another way of living. Magdalena has only a small number of places but if 1 or 2 out of these 80 prostitutes in Fontainebleau fin some assistance there, it will be a successful experience.


What about the legal proceedings for pimping?

A few inquiries have been conducted in the past years by the Fontainebleau police authorities. These complex inquiries did not bring any concrete results. Most of these women are foreigners. It is very difficult to get in touch with them. They appear to be living in a kind of fright. You cannot expect them to deliver any information spontaneously. So, if you want to draw up a file concerning pimping, you must follow these women, put their telephone under surveillance and the persons they are in contact with will have their line tapped too. This procedure implies extremely lengthy inquiries.


Can you tell us about the citizenship course that you are utilizing?

As a matter of fact, it is a multidisciplinary course which has been developed by the Melun judiciary control association. The contributors are former policemen and gendarmes who have been delegated to the prosecutor. It aims at recalling the values of social life, the reasons of the penal law; an evaluation test will take place at the end of the course. Todate, no tresspasser admits the facts; he usually declares that he stopped for a breath of fresh air or that the woman offered her services… Thus it is important that clients should have an opportunity to reconsider their relations to others. It is a two-day course with the tresspasser’s 180 euro financial participation. It represents an alternative with a 400 euro fine, a somewhat motivating financial risk.


How do you intend to develop a specific course?

I am talking with the CIDF (Information center for women’s rights) of the Seine et Marne, which appears to be interested. I am waiting to see if the decree defines precise items. Several problems arise: How many perpetrators should be questioned to make us credible? The problem of distance arises in the case of a specific course: will the clients who drive 100kms to visit a prostitute be willing to drive 100kms to attend a course? What about the financial question? The finance law does not give a clue. If we hire several top contributors for 2days, 180 euros by person will not be enough. Specific credits will be necessary.


What will these proceedings result in, in your opinion?

I have no illusion. This systematic policy in Fontainebleau will drive these persons to other places. But if each prosecutor reacts in the same way, I think these women will run fewer risks.


Prostitution in Fontainebleau jurisdiction - November 2015

80 prostituted women including 30 Romanians, 17 Bulgarians, 10 Cameroonians, 9 Nigerians, 6 French, 4 Albanians, 2 Ecuadorians, 1 Polish citizen.

Most of these women are illegal migrants. They live in some cheap hotels of the department, remain then for 1or 2 months, then they leave to spend a fortnight in their origin country and come back. The idea is not to let them settle on one territory. The money is transferred to their origin country through the Western Union.