|Sex workers at a vocational training course in HCM City. — Photo tiengchuong.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — More than four hundred young female sex workers in Ha Noi have received free healthcare services, and more than 120 have been given vocational training and support to start their own businesses, a conference heard last week.
These results came from a three-year-project between the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Plan International Viet Nam.
The project, targeting 400 female sex workers under 25 in the city, was launched in 2012. Under the VND9 billion (US$405,000) project, these women have been provided with health check-ups over the past three years.
Eight vocational training courses have been organised to help 82 young prostitutes, including hairdressing, graphic design, bartending, and marketing. Each course ran for three months and was free of charge. More than 40 women launched careers in these sectors with monthly income of VND3-5 million ($135-225).
Those who earned less than VND2.5 million ($112) per month or had a child to raise would be supported VND750,000 during their first three months of work.
The project has allocated VND500 million ($22,500) to support 43 women to start their own businesses. Most of these businesses were reported to earn a profit of at least VND4 million ($180) per month.
An ex-sex worker in central Nghe An Province, who wished to be anonymous, said that she now ran her own shop after ten years of working as a prostitute in Ha Noi. Her life had been improved, she said.
Phan Thi Lan Huong, a lecturer at Ha Noi Law University who evaluated the project, said that the project had succeeded in approaching female sex workers, understanding their difficulties and building supportive programmes for them.
Le Thi Ha, deputy head of the Anti-Social Evils Department under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said that the ministry hoped that the project could be applied in other provinces to help more sex workers.
She also encouraged more non-governmental organisations to join the project.
Unofficial statistics showed that there were about 3,000 female sex workers in Ha Noi. — VNS