|Addicted people receive methadone in northen Lao Cai Province. The rate of prostitution and prostitution-related crimes has increased sharply in the country, while measures to deter such activities have not been successful, a meeting in HCM City has heard. — Photo baolaocai.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — The rate of prostitution and prostitution-related crimes has increased sharply in the country, while measures to deter such activities have not been successful, a meeting in HCM City has heard.
"The current definition of prostitution does not cover new activities, such as prostitution among the same sex or transgender people," Nguyen Trong Dam, Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, has said.
Speaking at the meeting held on Thursday reviewing social-evil prevention activities in the first eight months of the year, Dam said the problem was due to limited funds and a lack of policies to help prostitutes re-enter the community.
Only 31 out of Viet Nam's 63 provinces and major cities have set up opium treatment programmes, which include withdrawal from the drug and post-treatment. Only nine provinces have offered full treatment to 5,000 of the total number of 205,000 opium addicts in the country.
"Local authorities have not paid enough attention to this programme, but they have also had financial difficulties," Dam said.
At the meeting, delegates from Ha Noi, HCM City, the southern province of Khanh Hoa and northern province of Bac Giang spoke about the challenges in implementing the opium treatment programme.
They said it was difficult to identify where the addicts live and the person who has the right to admit the addict to a rehab centre. The duration of the treatment period is also problematic, they said.
Dam said localities needed to raise public awareness about the problem and establish an action plan.
"Local authorities also must prepare expenditures for social evils prevention and submit solutions to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs along with other relevant authorities," Dam said.
By the end of September 2014, the country had recorded nearly 205,000 drug addicts, a fourfold increase compared to 20 years ago.
Fifty-three provinces have 187 rehab centres for opium addicts, 54 more than in 2014. More than 97,000 bars, massage, karaoke, restaurant and coffee shops in the country take part in some kind of prostitution activity, an increase of 21,000 businesses and 11,000 staff compared with 2014, according to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs.
For the first eight months of the year, nearly 2,500 prostitutes were arrested. — VNS