New €3m fund to help prostitutes start fresh

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Help and support will be made available for prostitutes in the Netherlands who wish to change professions.

For the next four years Minister Ivo Opstelten (VVD, Security and Justice) will make 3 million euro per year available to offer a helping hand to prostitutes who wish to escape the sex industry. With this money a nationwide network can be realized in twelve regions. This network will consist of agencies which can guide prostitutes in the direction of education and work. This is stated in a letter Minister Opstelten sent to the Second Chamber today.

In 2008 such assistance programs were set up in various municipalities with subsidies from the government, local authorities and welfare organizations. But according to the minister, this is not yet enough for a nationwide network.

Last year a report from the Regional Plan on the state of affairs showed that about 1750 prostitutes have made use of the support since the start of the exit programs. More than a thousand of them have actually stepped out of prostitution.

For example, a prostitute from The Hague region who wants to quit will be able to approach an organization such as the Foundation for Assistance and Relief Prostitutes (Stichting Hulpverlening en Opvang Prostituees - SHOP) in the Hague. There they will be received by social workers who will discuss future opportunities with them.

During the exit programs assistance can also be provided in other areas such as finding suitable housing, assistance with debt and aid in rehabilitation from an addiction or psycho-social problems