Vietnam launches new pilot to help sex workers

By Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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Ho Chi Minh City has launched the Sen Xanh (Green Lotus) peer support group to improve sex workers' access to social services. Photo: Minh Hung Ho Chi Minh City has launched the Sen Xanh (Green Lotus) peer support group to improve sex workers' access to social services. Photo: Minh Hung

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The central Department of Social Evils Prevention has launched a new trial project to help the country's sex workers access social services.
The project will be carried out in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and Quang Ninh over the next three years.
A third of the project's VND6 billion (US$281,700) budget was contributed by Care, a non-governmental organization active in the field.
The project aims to prevent social stigmatization and discrimination from men and government agencies from cutting off social services for sex workers.
It also strives to help equip sex workers with the skills they need to protect themselves against violence and extortion.
Le Van Quy, deputy director of the HCMC Social Evils Prevention Agency, said that participating sex workers will also receive information about how to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases.
“They will also receive vocational training and job training to gradually improve their behavior, bring them closer to mainstream society and ultimately quit the job [prostitution],” he said.
During the project's launch on January 7, the Sen Xanh (Green Lotus) peer support group held an opening talk with retired sex workers seeking to improve their station in life.
According to Le Thi Ha, deputy director of the Department of Social Evils Prevention, HIV/AIDS is increasingly prevalent among sex workers.
“The new model offers a chance for sex workers to help each others in approaching social services and obtaining a legal job,” she said.
According to the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam is home to roughly 33,000 sex workers--a population that is on the rise.
 

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