Launch of the Pink Lotus Club in Ho Chi Minh city
Sept. 10, 2018
In Ho Chi Minh City, Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien and Do Quang Dau streets offer a wide range of services such as bars, clubs, restaurants, eateries. Therefore, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment and protection for female sex workers (FSW) is essential, in order to ensure the security and order of the city.
For this purpose, The Rose Lotus (Sen Hồng) Club has been launched at the address of 109B, Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. This is a model of support, counseling and harm reduction intervention for FSW working in service establishments on Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien.
Meaning and purpose of the model
The model has great significance for the protection of health, providing legal knowledge, life and psychological skills, self-protection skills, HIV counseling, etc. for HSW at the workplace, it aims at ensuring labor safety under employment law, as well as ensuring dignity and building a friendly working environment for FSW. The second meaning is to improve the program and project management capacity, to link services between the Department of Social Vices Prevention and Control (DSVP) and Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI), and supportive social services such as health centers, preventive medicine, job placement center, vocational training. The third meaning is to raise the awareness and attitudes towards FSW, such as police, organizations and grassroots owners to create favorable conditions to FSW, help them perform well at the grassroots level.
The objective of the model is to provide knowledge and skills that empower women to improve their ability to work well and to protect themselves. In addition, through the Pink Lotus Club, the model aims at creating a friendly, open space for FSW to share their thoughts, feelings, build trust, help each other and be referred to health care facilities.
Fields of activities of the Club
The model consists of four main fields of activity:
- Access to personal communication, group communication to reduce HIV transmission, sexually transmitted diseases in the workplace.
- Refer FSW to HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis B, C treatment and services, vocational training, psychological counseling, legal advice to support FSW and refer to according facilities if needed.
- Listen, share ideas, guide safe behaviors in order to reduce risk for FSW when having clients. In addition, some institutions provide community-based HIV testing services (laytest), helping them access better services, and get results faster.
- Through group communication (from 6 to 10 people), members can have a safe space to open sharing. The team helps each other to share experiences, skills and knowledge to protect oneself in case of risk, to have safer work environment overall.
Photo: Representatives of community groups working with grassroots owners at the Pilot Implementation Conference
During the implementation of the model, the Pink Lotus Club needs the support of the People's Committee, police, unions. In addition, the cooperation of service owners at grassroots level is also important, in order to help create a safe, healthy work environment for female employees as well as for clients. Therefore, the city also maintains security and order and promotes sustainable tourism.
Photo: Mrs. Ha Ngoc Minh Thi, Deputy Director of the Department of Social Vices Prevention, Ho Chi Minh city, speaking at the conference
Photo: Dr. Nguyen Hoai Huong, SCDI Deputy Director, speaking at the conference
Photo: Dr.Le Van Quy, Deputy Director of the Department of Social Vices Prevention, Ho Chi Minh city, speaking at the conference
On August 5th 2017, a Pilot implementation conference was held with Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City between SCDI and representatives of the Department of Social Vices Prevention, DOLISA, Pham Ngu Lao Ward People's Committee and 14 representatives of services establishments, to share ideas on advantages and disadvantages of the model, propose solutions for better implementation.
In order to conclude, Mr. Le Van Quy - Deputy Director of Department of Social Vices Prevention in Ho Chi Minh City thanked the service establishment owners and the communities for their contributions and suggestions, expecting the FSW to come to the Pink Lotus Club. Ward authorities will also support the Club to make the model truly effective.
Văn Mãi – Vân Anh