Children with disabilities, also goals?

Between 7,000 and 10,000 children are victims of prostitution in France. Among them, some are disabled, especially mentally. The government is launching a campaign to prevent this scourge and warn of its dangers. Impressive clip!

A young girl dances, laughs, has fun, and waves a wad of hard-earned tickets…she” managed she thinks until she loses her footing. Suddenly it’s a fall. The screams, the tears and the exhaustion pile up, then violence begins, first verbally, then the first bruises… Every year in France, between 7,000 and 10,000 minors become victims of prostitution, a number that is constantly increasing under of reality, according to the special report of July 2021. Among them, without really being able to estimate their number, there are some young people in a situation of intellectual or psychological disability, including autistic, prey sometimes vulnerable due to their inability to no say or interpret certain gestures. In March 2022, Adrien Taquet, Secretary of State for Children and Families, launched a national campaign to prevent this scourge. Audio and video spots, dark and badass, available in 15, 30 or 60 seconds, translated into French Sign Language (LSF), (video opposite) to highlight the vulnerabilities of the victims and the dangers they face.

Disability, an aggravating factor?

« Disabled children are forgotten by society, but not by child criminals ‘ deplores Marie Rabatel, President of the Francophone Association of Autistic Women. Hidden for a long time, cases of sexual assault in medical and social facilities are increasingly making the headlines. According to the one who works to break the Omerta, ” All factors combine to make these children ideal targets: lack of modesty, little respect for privacy in a place behind closed doors, learning to submit which deprives them of decision-making power, difficulty expressing themselves, see.. . (full interview linked below). Marie Rabatel, also a member of the Ciivise (Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Violence Against Children), states that ” These growing teenagers will be prime prey for prostitution and human trafficking. Too often excluded from society, they believe they can find some semblance of belonging to community life. Furthermore, their lack of judgment does not always allow them to protect themselves from manipulation and the production of pseudo-consent. Who benefits from ignoring this vulnerability? ».

Companies not adequately controlled?

A 2019 intelligence report (by Marie Mercier, Michelle Meunier and Dominique Vérien) on sexual violence in institutions highlights that minors with disabilities are more likely to be victims of sexual offences. Even more worrisome, according to this report, prior verification of lack of conviction for a sexual assault felony or misdemeanor prior to employment in medico-social settings is far from being systematized. Amélie Charles, academic and autism activist, believes that ” certain establishments can become places of prostitution for children with disabilities if several perverts agree in this direction and there is no outside control “. Julien Landureau, communications manager at Droit d’Enfance, a child protection foundation, adds that young people with pre-existing mental disorders ” also overexposed “. Faced with this omerta, studies are needed on the subject, which do not currently exist, to highlight the increased risk faced by certain young disabled people.

Previous mental weaknesses …

Pending specific data, in January 2022, the Center for Child Victimology (CVM) submitted a report to Adrien Taquet on underage prostitution in France (link below). This 150-page document aims in particular to identify the victims’ profile from a sociological, psychological and medico-legal point of view. In particular, when there is no mention of children with disabilities, it shows that six out of ten young people affected have had potentially traumatic past experiences to deal with: sexual, physical, psychological violence, parental criminal record… The American author and feminist Andrea Dworkin revealed in the columns about this the World, that 42% of female prostitutes were victims of child criminals. According to the AP-HP (Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris), the first sexual intercourse was rape in 20% of cases. For example, seven out of ten children have sought psychological or psychiatric care before the facts, particularly for problems with eating habits, scarring, or attempted suicide.

… accentuated by the trauma associated with prostitution

In hindsight, the situation worsens, her mental health deteriorates, complex psychotraumatic symptoms and relationship difficulties mix. ” I haven’t been to school for two yearstestifies Katia, 14 years old. If I wasn’t feeling well, I put on make-up, I wanted to kill myself. It’s empty inside me » « These young people, when they emerge from it, take years to regain psychological stability. », worried Julien Landureau. In addition, prostitution also poses physical health risks, such as sexually transmitted infections or beatings by pimps, the report warns.

Money, the main source of motivation »

According to the report, half of the minors are recruited through an acquaintance prior to prostitution (school, extracurricular or children’s shelter), the other half through social networks or through chance encounters on the way to the public, mostly train stations. “ Most pimps are between 18 and 24 years oldexplains Julien Landureau. This can start with relationships that victims perceive as romantic or friendly, before they are monetized with friends or acquaintances via networks of initially three or four pimps, sometimes larger, which can extend into neighboring countries. »

The victims are getting younger and younger. sometimes only twelve or thirteen ‘ he laments. The most important ” motivation » ? « earn money ‘ answer seven out of ten minors. ” It also happens that, in a context of severe social exclusion, disabled minors are under extreme pressure to engage in prostitution in order to earn money. “Would like to add Amélie Charles. For Julien Landureau, one of the main causes lies in ” the phenomenon of trivialization and “Glorification” of the sexual act with respect. Already the concept of “Prostitution” is also used very little, the term is preferred “Michetonnage”.

Solutions to prevent this scourge

The CVM report aims to warn but also to propose solutions such as the dissemination of existing guides on the subject to raise awareness among professionals, the creation of a Speaker pimping of minors » in each departmental brigade, the development of a tool for centralizing information from the police and gendarmerie or facilitating court proceedings, particularly with regard to wiretapping courts and intercepting investigative elements on social networks. It also calls for the promotion of access to care for minors, in particular by facilitating access by pediatric reception units for vulnerable children (Uaped) without a court order, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, but also to combat the lack of staff and Resources in the collective reception structures and to create an emergency shelter reception center in each department. Finally, the guide urges the establishment of a national inter-ministerial resource, help and support agency for professionals and families confronted with child prostitution.

Warning signals

« No social environment is sparedsays Julien Landureau. On the other hand, there is fertile ground for the development of prostitution practices. Isolation, loneliness, docility, school failure, violence create a cluster of clues. Other signs can (should!) warn: physical trauma (scars, bruises…), addiction, running away and family breakdown, unusual hygiene (very frequent showering or, on the contrary, lack of daily washing), inappropriate relationship with the body (rough language, invoking degrading sexual relationships in a different tone, using terminology alien to their age), excessive use of communication tools and especially the telephone and socializing with strangers, behavior change (aggressiveness, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, depression, frequent crying, regressive or self-destructive behavior, trouble sleeping), possessions inexplicable sums of money, hypersexualized or, on the contrary, neglected dress code, learning difficulties…

A free hotline

In case of doubt, vulnerable (endangered) young people, but also parents and specialists in medical and social institutions can contact the “ 119 Hello childhood in perilr”, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Especially for the deaf and hard of hearing, a chat for people under the age of 21 is available Monday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. In March, as part of the launch of the campaign “ I manage ! », Right to Childhood, continues in partnership with the « 119 », a monitoring agency for victims of prostitution, their families and professionals. With recognized expertise on the subject, the listeners take care of inquiries that reach the emergency number and need assistance. A multidisciplinary team (social workers, psychologists, lawyers) has been dedicated to this task since March 2022 to strengthen the fight against this scourge.

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