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jeudi 16 janvier 2014
An upsetting subject
Heifara, Tahitian, minor, transvestite, prostitute
If the school is compulsory until the age of 16, how a young person under 15 years of age can prostitute oneself on the territory of the French republic?
Heifara isn’t his real name, of course! No pictures will illustrate this meeting, of course! It wasn’t easy to win his trust, and difficult for him to provide the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Out of respect for his choice, in speaking of him, I tell: her. And I’ll use the name she has chosen for this interview: Elisa
On the other hand, Elisa can barely read and write. Like many young Polynesians, she speaks a compound language of French, reo Tahiti and paumotu***. So I made a transcript of her remarks.
By reading these lines, never forget that Tahiti (the paradise of child-as-king) is in France, that the laws are supposed to be the same and that all places of worship are full there.
Elisa, when and why did you decide to be a girl?
“My real parents are living in the Tuamotu. They had six children and couldn’t feed one more. So they gave me to a cousin of my dad at Tahiti.
My faamu* parents had four oldest sons. I felt safe with mom and she always asked me to do things at home. Dishes, cleaning, laundry, cooking and all… I liked that way.
In addition, I really didn’t want to go to play with the boys. It doesn’t interest me and even scared me. So I stayed with my faamu mom and her friends’ daughters. My faamu dad, him, he didn’t even see me. He knew just tell me: do this or do that, and used to beat me when he was angry or had drunk.
At school, it was the same: I preferred to stay playing and talking with the girls.”
When did you start prostitution, and why?
“One day, when I was twelve, there was a great tamara** at home. There were the whole family and lot of neighbors. There was at least a hundred people. I was with women for cooking and stuff. It’s a typical local custom, women and men don’t mix. At the end, everyone was drunk. My oldest faamu brother called me to help: I went. There, he forced me to do him sexual things. He told me it was normal and that I must say no evil. I cried long that night.
After that, he did it again several times a week. Each time, he asked me a little more. So that I’ll keep quiet, he made me small gifts. One day he came with a friend to him and he told me: “if you do it like for me, I give you 500 xpf (4,19 €) ”. I had to say yes, otherwise he would have hit me harshly. And then, before, I never had money to me. That’s how I started prostitution. To buy things, clothes, make up… and also plenty of girl stuff... anything"
How did you work the streets?
"At first, he only brought quarter buddies or fetii****. And then he brought men whom I didn’t know, of growing old, even popaa*****. This is where I saw he kept a lot of money for him and didn’t give me nearly nothing. When I told him it was not fair, he beat me very hard. There was blood everywhere, I was hurt and I was scared; so I went to a friend raerae******.
She, and her friends were very nice to me. They treated me, gave me girls clothes, had my hair done, makeup, all that, what.
They explained to me that if I was going to make love with someone, I had to keep all the money for me, not give it to a man, even if he is my brother. That’s how I started to look to turn tricks. I was thirteen."
Today, how do you live?
"I work night on the sidewalk. I even have regular customers: gendarmes and soldiers. On weekends, I go out clubbing. I live in a city with three other raerae girlfriends. I don’t go to school and no one told me what I should do. When I have earned enough money, I would go to France to have surgery. So I could find a husband."
How many young Polynesians prostitute and stopped their education before the age of sixteen? There are no reliable figures. In the homeland of human rights and rights of the child, the question is disturbing, right?...
* faamu: adopted and adoptive
**tamara: festive meal
*** paumotu: from Tuamotu islands
**** fetii: more or less distant member of the family
*****popaa: western people
******Raerae: male transvestite
An article of Julien Gué
Translated from French by Monak
Copyright Julien Gué. Ask for the author’s agreement before any reproduction of the text or the images on Internet or traditional press.