3 men on trial in France for the murder of a Peruvian trans woman in 2018

Three and a half years after the murder of Vanesa Campos a sex worker Of Peruvian origin, the trial against three men accused of the crime perpetrated during a “punitive expedition” began this Tuesday, January 11, in Paris in a tense atmosphere.

Vanesa Campos, 36, was shot in the chest on the night of August 16-17, 2018 in the Boulogne forest, one of the lungs of the French capital known for the presence of sex workers.

His murder revealed the violence suffered by prostitutes, but the defense asked this Tuesday to prevent it from becoming a “symbolic” trial. “The sex of the victim, his gender, does not influence what happened,” said attorney Antoine Aussedat.

The investigation quickly focused on a group of young people of Egyptian origin, who took advantage of sexual services to rob women workers and their clients. In all, nine men are tried.

The three main defendants, tried for “murder in an organized gang”, deny being responsible for the crime of the Peruvian woman in an irregular situation in France and accuse each other.

The night of cars, a dozen young people gathered in the Boulogne forest to carry out, according to the accusation, a “punitive expedition”, armed with tear gas canisters, a knife and an electric pistol.

They also had a firearm, stolen a week before from a policeman’s vehicle, when he was with a prostitute. One of the shots fired fatally wounded Vanesa Campos.

Her companions found her dying near the place where she was practicing, in an isolated area of ​​the forest, located near a road and without lighting.

The defendants point to Mahmoud Kadri, 24, as the perpetrator of the fatal shot, but he denies it and in turn accuses Karim Ibrahim, 29, whom witnesses identify as the leader of the group.

The third of the main defendants, Aymen Dib, 25, is credited with stabbing the victim.

Five more men, aged 23 to 27, are charged for their participation in the events. A ninth defendant, aged 34, appears for the theft of the policeman’s weapon.

The first day of the trial was tense. The president of the court expelled one of the defendants and asked the rest to stop combing their combs and giving “devastating glances” to other defendants or to civil parties.

Former colleagues or friends of the victim ended up leaving the courtroom after a defendant made “a sign of slaughter towards them,” reported their lawyer, Chirine Heydari.

The mother and sister of Vanesa Campos, residents in Peru, also became civil parties, as well as six former companions and friends of the victim and the bodyguard they hired at the time, ‘Takaré’.

“This trial will reveal the truth, at least that is the hope of Vanesa Campos’ family and friends,” said Heydari, who specified that the mother and sister could not travel to France.

According to Heydari, this case that caused a strong commotion “will be the occasion to remember that the working conditions of prostitutes in the Boulogne forest” did not improve at all three and a half years after this murder.

The association for the defense of trans people Acceptess-T, which the defense asks not to be recognized as a civil party, blames the 2016 law that punishes the clients of prostitutes, since it forces them to hide from the Police and expose yourself to more aggressions.

The trial for the murder of Vanesa Campos, who, according to the French press, would have undergone a sex change operation in Argentina, comes 10 months after a man was sentenced to eight years in prison for raping Cristina T, a prostitute Peruvian transgender.

Jessyca Sarmiento, another trans compatriot of Vanesa and Cristina, who also practiced prostitution in the Boulogne forest, was hit by a vehicle in February 2020. According to witnesses, the act was intentional.

The sentence in the Vanesa Campos trial is expected on January 27.