• The Zéromacho association, which defines itself as an “international network of men committed against the prostitution system and for gender equality”, counted in September 2021 nearly 300 places of prostitution in Paris, disguised as “salons of massaging”.

  • A year later,

    20 Minutes

    takes stock of the action of the authorities, and seeks to explain this increase in prostitution in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, where there are around fifty.

More than a year ago, in September 2021, an association pinpointed more than 300 massage parlors hiding prostitution activities in the capital.

With a record in the 17th arrondissement, which concentrates around fifty of these places, according to Zéromacho, which defines itself as an "international network of men committed against the prostitution system and for gender equality".

Why is the 17th so affected?

And what have the authorities been doing since this association investigated?

20 Minutes

sought to find out more.

Co-founder of Zéromacho and historian of feminism, Florence Montreynaud admits herself confused, but puts forward some leads: “I myself do not understand this specificity of the 17th, apart from two elements that I know.

In the 19th century, Boulevard Malesherbes was home to a few grande cocottes [a word for luxury prostitutes] including Valtesse de la Bigne, whom Emile Zola portrayed in



She had a mansion at the corner of Avenue de Villiers and Rue de la Terrasse.

Prostitution has its quarters, and in the 17th, there were meeting houses.


Contacted by us, the mayor of the 17th, Geoffroy Boulard, seems annoyed to explain why his district is so affected.

“It's complicated… It was established about ten years ago on rue Legendre, in the Epinettes district, with a concentration of fake massage parlors, because the leases were inexpensive.

But now the phenomenon is less localized, it has become widespread, even in more upscale neighborhoods,” he explains.

What are the town hall and the police doing?

Faced with this situation, the mayor of the borough did not sit idly by.

He claims to have worked with the mayor of the 9th arrondissement from 2011 to try to label the “real” salons.

But the initiative failed.

“We discussed with a certain number of professionals but we never succeeded.

Massage parlors do not have a professional order like beauticians, physiotherapists, etc.

he tells us, which he says makes the discussions more complicated.

After the revelations of Zéromacho, the mayor also tried to find out more from the police headquarters, sending a letter in April to the prefect, and going so far as to have a wish voted on by the borough council on June 20, asking "that the prefect of police inform the mayor of the 17th of the number of salons and the closing procedures in progress" and "that the prefect of police inform the mayor of the 17th what are the measures envisaged to reinforce [the] action in terms of fight against pimping in massage parlours.

The letter in response, which arrived at the beginning of July and which

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obtained, indicates that the brigade for the repression of pimping (BRP) dismantled in 2021 four networks of pimps.

The mayor also tells us to be aware of three procedures for closing businesses in 2022 in the 17th for infringement.

A far cry from the 53 fake salons listed by Zéromacho in this arrondissement.

Since the law of April 13, 2016, customers can be sanctioned with a fine of 1,500 euros.

According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior, there are approximately 1,300 verbalizations per year in France, and according to the Scelles Foundation, more than 2,260 verbalizations concerned the capital between the entry into force of the law and the end of 2019. is far from the reality of prostitution, since in massage parlors in Paris alone, there are, according to Zéromacho, around 3,000 customers a day.

Soon “dissuasive fines”?

Why are things moving so slowly?

"They have other priorities imposed from above, it's terrorism", reports Florence Montreynaud, whose association met the head of the BRP (pimping repression brigade), the head of the OCRTEH ( central office for the repression of human trafficking) and the two prosecutors in charge of this case at the Paris court.

“There is no firmness and repression.

I understand that there are other priority things but it is a priority to protect the women of these salons, ”complains Geoffroy Boulard.

Contacted by

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, the Paris police headquarters did not wish to answer our questions.

In the meantime, Zéromacho is counting on pedagogy with citizens.

“We are going to take public opinion as a witness: on the occasion of the Olympics, can we tolerate Paris being the capital of Asian brothels?

“, announces Florence Montreynaud.

Who also expects a lot from the new Paris prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, and her deputy prosecutor, Julie Colin, who announced at the start of the year that she wanted to “inflict heavy dissuasive fines on the managers of pimping salons”.


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