New plan offers prostitutes a chance to improve their lives
Deputy director of HCM City's Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Van Minh spoke with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper about a new law ending the forced rehabilitation of sex workers.
What are your comments on the city's prostitution situation?
It is human to see sex workers as victims and disadvantaged people who need help and support.
However, the policy will be difficult to implement since a group of people is not in total agreement with it.
From our observation, street prostitution has increased and become more complicated. If we stop forcing sex workers into healthcare and rehabilitation centres, the situation will become even more complicated.
So what are the city's plans regarding the new regulation?
The city has implemented many solutions to prevent prostitution, including improving education about the sex trade. We have also inspected businesses which have connections to prostitution.
As for former sex workers, we are building a new approach. The department of labour, invalids and social affairs has co-operated with the city's committee on combating HIV/AIDS and the womens' union to create a support network for those people. We have set up a centre for them, as well as for those who leave rehabilitation centres and have nowhere to go. The centre will support people with advising, healthcare and vocational training. When leaving the centre, each person will receive VND2 million for further vocational training. We will also do job promotion there. We expect to support 30 people this year. This programme is just in its trial period and may be expanded if it succeeds.
I think we need to set up a centre for sex workers who need a place to temporarily settle down. In this centre, we will continue to provide them with advising and medical support. We are working on this plan and will submit it to the city's People's Committee for further implementation.
Is the new regulation on the fine for prostitution feasible?
The fine of VND300,000 is not strict enough. However, the law is still new and we need time to see how it works. We can demand changes if there are too many shortcomings.
As I've mentioned, we need to strictly punish pimps and middlemen. As for sex workers, first and foremost, we need to educate them. — VNS