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Charges over murder of Peruvian prostitute


Five people have been charged in the French capital Paris with murdering a Peruvian transgender prostitute who reportedly tried to defend her client when robbers attacked his car.

Vanesa Campos, 36, was shot dead on the night of 16-17 August in the Bois de Boulogne, a city park long known as a pick-up area for prostitutes.

Her brutal murder sparked anger among sex workers and LGBT activists.

Hundreds marched on Friday to demand greater protection for prostitutes.

Campaigners demanded the repeal of a 2016 law which criminalised the purchase of sex in France, saying it forced prostitutes to work in more isolated locations to avoid police.

How did she die?

Working illegally in France for the past two years, French media say, Ms Campos was with a client in a part of the park used by prostitutes.

About 10 men armed with knives, sticks and a handgun set upon her after she tried to stop them robbing his car, a police source was quoted as saying by Le Parisien newspaper.

Ms Campos reportedly shouted for help but her friends arrived too late to save her.

She was killed by a bullet to the chest. It was not known if the client was also hurt in the incident.

Eight people were arrested last week and five have now been charged with murder and robbery, AFP news agency reports.

What do campaigners want?

The protesters who turned out on Friday carried placards demanding "Justice for Vanesa" but also accusing the French state of "complicity" in the murder of a transgender woman by driving prostitutes to take greater risks with their safety.

"The law is 100% responsible for Vanesa's death," campaigner Giovanna Rincon told AFP.

Around 10 prostitutes have been murdered in the Bois de Boulogne in recent years, Le Parisien reports.

Supporters of the 2016 law argued it increases safety by improving police protection for sex workers and helping foreign prostitutes to get temporary residence permits in France if they agreed to seek jobs outside prostitution.

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