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The MIST: a specialized and innovative association

Based in Paris but active throughout France, Mist is a collective of women who have been victims of pimping or trafficking for sexual exploitation, and who are mobilized to promote the identification of other victims, their protection, and then their inclusion, in a process that enables them to make the most of their experience by helping other victims.

This virtuous dynamic is based on a unique social intervention methodology developed for victims of sexual exploitation. It aims to create spaces where victims can talk about themselves within an evolving framework, empower themselves by taking part in the association’s actions and governance, and work towards delivering recommendations, improving access to rights for victims, and combating trivialization of violence, power relationship or domination within peer groups.

Created in January 2020 by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals already having an extensive experience in the fight against human trafficking, Mist is the first association of trafficked women in France: half the executive board is made of women who were trafficked when they were minors.

In its first year of existence, a group of Mist members, acting as civil parties, won the biggest conviction ever handed down in France for human trafficking offences. Then, Mist signed a partnership with the Paris Bar to set up an unprecedented outreach programme in a Parisian prostitution area, involving Nigerian peer mediators and volunteer lawyers from the Bus Paris Solidarité.

Mist is a resource centre for the victims, and also for the professionals who meet and support them.

Mist is registered on the list of legal guardians with the Paris Court of Appeal, and thus supports minor victims before the courts.

The association is France’s leading referral service for Ac.Sé national programme, which enables unsafe victims to be moved from Paris regions to shelters in other parts of France (decree no. 2007-1352 of September 13, 2007 on the admission, protection, reception and accommodation of foreign victims of human trafficking).

The association is a member of several national working groups on trafficking, coordinated by the Interministerial Mission for the Protection of Women against Violence and the Fight against Human Trafficking (MIPROF).

Mist is a member of the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW), La Strada International (LSI) and Beyond Borders network.

About us

The purpose of the association is:

  • To combat human trafficking for sexual exploitation and to provide assistance to victims, as part of a participatory community health initiative
  • To detect, identify, shelter and assist victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation and pimping, both adults and minors, regardless of gender
  • To develop all social, legal and administrative actions related to its purpose
  • To implement a participatory methodology of community health and peer mediation, in order to determine the objectives and conduct of actions, their evaluation and the communication of results, within a framework of shared knowledge and power
  • To promote the rights of victims of human trafficking, particularly in terms of health, protection and social inclusion, and the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination and exclusion
  • To promote the health of victims of human trafficking, by encouraging participation in collective action and developing dynamics of change and transformation of norms within the group
  • To promote autonomy – and economic independence in particular – of victims of human trafficking, by encouraging education, training and access to the job market
  • To help in any way possible those who wish to leave prostitution
  • To provide assistance to victims, and if necessary to take civil action before national and European courts – To sign conventions or agreements with associations or institutions pursuing the same goals

 

Our team

Mist promotes participative social action.

Mist supports victims of human trafficking and pimping who wish to take part in the fight against these phenomena, on a voluntary or salaried basis, within the framework of expertise activities (feedback, diagnosis, recommendations) or assistance to other victims (awareness-raising, information, access to rights, group discussions).

Members are supported and trained by a multi-disciplinary team, as part of an individualized training program.

The association’s rules stipulate that at least half the members of Mist’s Executive Board must be peer members who have been victims of human trafficking.

The other members of the Administrative Board are currently:

Sarah THEVENON, General Secretary. Head of department in Centre for asylum seekers for ten years, she has seen a growing number of Nigerian women victims of trafficking, some of them minors, lured into applying for asylum by their traffickers, shuffled between different departments and administrations without being protected or even detected by the system. She has played a major role in developing training and networking between partners, in order to get over the many difficulties and to enable many Nigerian women to be sheltered and protected by asylum. She supports actions aiming at overcoming the challenges still at stake in terms of identification, access to asylum and protection for all trafficked persons, adults and minors alike, regardless of gender.

Clément SIBONY, Treasurer. As a filmmaker and theatre director, he has set up several projects with Nigerian women in Paris, gradually developing a collective desire to get involved in community life and fight against trafficking. In 2023, he conducted a theatre and documentary project with them, aiming at highlighting the challenges of freeing individual and collective voices of trafficked women. He supports the emergence and implementation of all artistic and socio-cultural projects within the association.

Marine THISSE, Administrator. She is a lawyer at the Val de Marne Bar, and has been advising trafficked women for over fifteen years. In asylum applications, criminal proceedings and administrative disputes, she supports victims in gaining access to their rights while enforcing the French and international regulations that protect them. She is working to develop a body of jurisprudence that considers their situation and helps them obtain the refugee status.

http://www.cnda.fr/Ressources-juridiques-et-geopolitiques/Actualite-jurisprudentielle/Selection-de-decisions-de-la-CNDA/CNDA-24-mars-2015-Mlle-E.F.-n-10012810-C

Elodie APARD, Administrator. Historian by training, she is a permanent researcher at IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), attached to URMIS, (Migration and Society Research Unit, Université Paris Cité). For eight years, she worked at IFRA-Nigeria (Institut Français de Recherche au Nigeria), where she coordinated several collective research programs on human trafficking. Within MIST, she is in charge of developing exchanges between members of the association and African researchers – particularly Nigerian – in order to promote new forms of knowledge transmission.

http://www.ifra-nigeria.org/former-research-programs/human-trafficking

http://www.ifra-nigeria.org/ongoing-research-programs/packing

Direction. Vanessa Simoni

Development: Aurélie Jeannerod

Administration and finance: Caroline Martin

Community organizer: Flora Enifo

Community life manager: Juliet Omoruyi

Project manager: Sarah Nweke

Referent for justice: Maud Pommier

Clinical psychologist, professional practices supervision: Caroline Legrez

Webmaster & Photography: Tadzio