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Vietnam: Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women to Escape from Commercial Sex Industry

The situation of female sex workers in Vietnam is very complicated and often dangerous. Exploitation, oppression, violence, use of drugs, and even homicide are typically the threats they face. At the same time, these women have access to limited government services.

The Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women to Escape from the Commercial Sex Industry Hanoi / Vietnam was a three-year pilot project implemented by Plan International Vietnam in partnership with government and local non-government organizations (NGOs). The project piloted a community-based social and economic reintegration model for 400 adolescent girls and young women aged 17 to 35 involved in the sex industry. The project strategy rested on a package of linked services that have been designed to create an enabling environment for sex workers and improve their access to state and non-state sexual health care, legal assistance, psycho-social support, vocational training, job placement services, and self-employment support. Through the service providers, the sex workers were economically empowered with market-oriented vocational and entrepreneurship skills and received job placement and loans for job creation support. They were also trained as peer counselors to reach out to other sex workers, enabling them to escape from the sex industry.

In total, 409 women between the ages of 17 and 35 were reached by the project, 82 of them benefited from a vocational training program and 36 received a small grant and loan to implement a business plan. The evaluation concluded that the model adopted by the project supported the efficient delivery of effective assistance to the FSWs even if it perhaps seemed more relevant to older sex workers who may be more easily persuaded to dare change their life.

Despite the short implementation period, the project provided significant support to national sex work policy and planning development. Plan has developed an effective working relationship with the Department of Social Vice Prevention (DSVP) and is providing important support for DSVP policy development and planning in the area of sex work. Importantly, the project engaged primary sex work policy actors (DSVP) as central partners from the early stages of project inception and implementation. The project model has been presented nationally. In relation to the shift from center to community- based activities, the model provides new and innovative approaches, notably involving sex workers as active participants in the project and establishing government and NGO partnerships.

Agape Foundation and Plan International Switzerland /Institutional Donors
Project Start Date
August 2012
Project End Date
December 2015
Technical Areas Covered
Economic Empowerment and Protection

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