The Fontainebleau forest is a 25 000 hectares forest in the South of Paris. Since the beginning of the 2000 decade, prostitution networks coming especially from Romania, Bulgaria and Cameroun have developed along the forest roads. Those networks not only violate basic human rights but also represent a real issue in the area: highly visible to families and walkers enjoying the forest paths, contributing to an increase in road accidents, often responsible for trashing the forest and regularly victims of robberies and aggressions.
French laws on prostitution remain ambiguous since governments don’t seem to want to fully engage with this sensitive topic. Although soliciting actively and/or passively for sexual services is illegal, police forces often have difficulties to bring material evidence to condemn prostitutes. Moreover, the international networks, in which most prostitutes from the Fontainebleau forest are part of, aren’t based in France and thus depend on the european judicial police. Local police means are far from sufficient to track down the origin of such networks. Finally, prostitution is not a national priority in France unlike petty crimes and road security. The head of the local police is held accountable for his activities and cannot allow himself to undermine the national priorities for more locally focused issues.
Several problems seem to raise from the topic: Police missions should be re-evaluated by giving greater importance to local issue. A national debate on prostitution is needed in order to define clearly the legal status of male and female prostitutes. In this regard, I would be in favour of a restricted legalisation of prostitution in brothels in order to erase illegal activities and ensure decent working conditions to sex workers.