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The American Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at Scelles Foundation !

Susan Coppedge, Yves Charpenel, Fondation ScellesThe Scelles Foundation had the honor of receiving Susan Coppedge, the American Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Senior advisor to John Kerry. The meeting provided the embassy and The Scelles Foundation with a unique opportunity to share experiences. 

It was at the request of the American embassy in Paris that the meeting took place on the 9th of September. Susan Coppedge took advantage of her trip to Paris to visit Fondation Scelles and have a discussion with Yves Charpenel, the president of the organization. She was accompanied by Haley Wright, from the Department of State in charge of combatting human trafficking, Alexandra Shema, the secretary of political affairs who works towards the protection of human rights alongside the Ambassador, and Morgane Lavenant, of the Ambassador’s bureau of political affairs. 


The Law in Action
As a former prosecutor of the state of Georgia, the Ambassador was particularly interested in the changes that French law was undergoing. How do the new laws, adopted in April 2016, strengthen the fight against the prostitution system, and can they improve the means by which victims are identified? How are they implemented? How are the first effects of the laws measure? 
Yves Charpenel presented the key points regarding the situation in France. He paid particular attention to the radical reversal of norms brought about by the new laws, namely that the law ensures that prostitutes are recognized as victims to be protected while the act of purchasing sex or sexual services itself is criminalized. The law is currently being implemented in increments.  

New Plans of Action
The discussion stretched beyond the new French laws and other plans of action emerged during the conversation. 


"Raising awareness in the countries of origin"


Yves Charpenel explained that the lack of communication and cooperation between France and the countries where victims are trafficked is a major problem in international trafficking cases. Ambassador Coppedge suggested that ''It could be interesting for The Scelles Foundation to conduct awareness activities in the countries where victims are trafficked from, particularly in Francophonic countries. She noted that such a practice would be similar to what the United Kingdom has been doing in Nigeria'. 


"Survivors carrying the fight"


Susan Coppedge, Yves Charpenel, Fondation Scelles

In the United States, prostitution survivors have a very important role to play. Susan Coppedge explained that ''President Barak Obama created the first advising counsel on human trafficking, a platform that permits the survivors of prostitution to share their expertise with federal institutions.'' What about in France? 

French and American cultures are very different. There are women who played a big part in the creation and implementation of the new laws in France but very few survivors of human trafficking are given a voice in these matters. The shame and stigma that comes with the label of 'human trafficking victim' functions as an obstacle to their free expression. One of the roles on The Scelles Foundation is to give a voice to the victims and to raise awareness of their plight. 


"Men against Human Trafficking"


"It is important that men speak out against the practice of buying sex." Ambassador Coppedge expressed as she noted the strong male presence in the audience. "It is necessary for business men and celebrities to join the fight." According to Yves Charpenel there are an increasing number of men in France who are taking up a position in this debate. There is a male resistance movement against the purchasing of sex that exists in France today. This movement, called Zéromacho, is led by Gérard Biard, who is also the president of The Scelles Foundation Award 2015-2016.

At the end of the rich and educational exchange, Susan Coppedge saluted the action of Fondation Scelles with these words, "I am impressed by your devotion and your efforts in protecting the victims of Human trafficking;"

Learn More :
- Scelles Foundation hosts US Ambassador-at-Large Susan Coppedge, in charge of the fight against human trafficking

- 2016 Global Report, Scelles Foundation "PROSTITUTION, Exploitation, Persecution, Repression"
- The 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, US Department of State
- French law, 13 avril 2016, strengthening the fight against the prostitution system and the support of prostituted persons



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The Scelles Foundation in the press

  • (ES - Milenio) El ser humano no está a la venta
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