Rotterdam to rescue drug-addicted prostitutes

5th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM − Rotterdam City Council has opted for an unusual method to free women from prostitution: all 180 drug-addicted women working in the city's tolerated street sex zone are to be placed in residential colleges.

5 July 2004

AMSTERDAM − Rotterdam City Council has opted for an unusual method to free women from prostitution: all 180 drug-addicted women working in the city's tolerated street sex zone are to be placed in residential colleges.

The women will undergo treatment for several months in a clinic before being transferred to the "boarding school", or internaat in Dutch. Once transferred, the women may choose to remain there for the rest of their lives, newspaper Trouw reported on Monday.

Rotterdam has decided to close the street prostitution zone in 2005, but 45 women will move to the so-called residential colleges in December 2004. The women are presently being treated in the DeltaBouman clinic, a private institute in the harbour city specialising in psychiatric problems and drug addiction.

Every drug addicted women issued with a permit to work on the Keileweg street sex zone will be treated by the clinic for several months before being transferred to the colleges. The women will receive individual treatment.

But the women will not be forced to give up their drug of choice. Instead, Rotterdam Health and Public Safety Alderwoman Marianne van den Anker said the aim is that the women will take their drugs in a focused manner.

It is hoped that the women will opt to moderate their drug use, take drugs just once per month or once per week. Health professionals will also assess the women to determine their suitability for a methadone project or the supply of heroin on prescription.

Prostitutes who refuse to co-operate with the project, can be forced to participate via legal means. But Van den Anker believes that all women will voluntarily become involved in the project.

"The women live in an inhuman situation on the Keileweg. We are creating a decent life for them with the boarding colleges," she said.

Women who leave the residential accommodation can be forced to return and obliged to undergo treatment again in the DeltaBouman clinic.

The prostitutes can choose to live in the centres − where a counsellor is on hand 24 hours per day − for the rest of their life. The council expects that only a few of them will move onto independent accommodation.

Besides accommodation, the women will also be given a job, such as clothing repairs or street cleaning in the area around
the residential centre.

Rotterdam Council is paying project leader health authority GGD and DeltaBouman will manage the colleges and will be in charge of the treatment.

The treatment will largely be funded by the AWBZ special sickness costs insurance scheme, but the women will also be required to contribute financially.

DeltaBouman has already bought two premises, one of which is located in the Pijnackerstraat. The remaining eight colleges are still to be built and must be ready for use by the end of 2005 when the street prostitution zone is scheduled to close.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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