Appendix 1 Project examples

Exiting prostitution models - Appendix 1 Project examples

This appendix gives details of some projects which have been set up with a particular focus on helping sex workers to exit. A Ministry of Justice internal note supplied at the time they commissioned this review mentions some of these (Numbers 1-4). It also mentions 'Children of the Night' (Los Angeles, California) which is based more on a 'rescue mission' approach. The Ministry of Justice report notes that 'rescue missions, or the uplifting of young people from street prostitution situations in New Zealand is not favoured. The Manukau Working Group has expressed doubt about the efficacy of such actions. They consider that, should CYF remove young people from the streets, they would invariably return within a short period of time'.

Project 1: Awhina Teina, Onehunga, Auckland


This opened in April 2005 to house up to six young women (aged seventeen and younger) involved in, or at risk of involvement in commercial sexual activity. It aims to enable young women to make lifestyle changes if they want to. The house also provides emergency accommodation for those who need a safe bed overnight.

Awhina Teina can accommodate up to six residents, and referrals have been steady (Ministry of Justice, 2006).

The house was set up with charitable funds from Baptist Action (a Manukau Working Group member). Ongoing funding comes from Child Youth and Family (CYF) bed-night contracts.

Source: Internal note of the Ministry of Justice.

Project 2: Tui House, Nelson


Tui House is now closed but was run by volunteer social workers from agencies such as Rape Crisis, Young Women's Support (now Nelson Women's Support) and the Area Health Board (who provided the house itself). Funding came from Lottery grants, COGS, the Area Health Board and the then Ministry of Social Welfare through the unemployment benefits of some of the residents.

Residents contributed to the running of the house, and were responsible for cooking and cleaning.

Tui House aimed to help young teenage women living on the streets of Nelson. (The average age was fifteen years.) Although sexually active, the girls were not involved in prostitution. A former staff member described the rules for residents as very strict. (There were behavioural standards and curfews.) However, a resident described a 'no rules' ethos and, indeed, felt this partly helped her turn her life around.

Tui house closed in 1991 due to staff 'burnout' and problems in securing reliable funding.

Source: Internal note of the Ministry of Justice.

Project 3: Safe House, San Francisco, California

Housing service

The Safe House describes itself as a 'clean and sober living community.' It provides transitional housing, counselling and rehabilitation services for up to two years for women seeking to exit the sex industry. Vocational, educational and life skills training are also offered.

The Safe House caters for twelve residents at a time.

A residents' committee self-manages aspects of the house such as a recreation budget. After-care is provided for graduates of the programme.

Source: Prostitution Research & Education (2007).

Project 4: The 'Mary Magdalene Project' in South Gate, California

Housing service

This offers long-term (eighteen months to two years) residential care for women who want to exit prostitution.

It provides counselling, medical care and job training, as well as food, clothing and shelter.

Source: Prostitution Research & Education (2007).

Project 5: St Mungo's (London)

Housing service

The St Mungo's charitable housing service for crack-dependent women in Lambeth provides women involved in prostitution with a safe place to live to enable them to contemplate a life away from the streets. The project has had success in bringing 'hard-to-reach' groups to drug treatment and other forms of rehabilitation as part of a route out of prostitution.

There are two hostels supporting women at different stages of exiting prostitution. Clients at the first hostel receive an intensive needs assessment, and are allocated a key worker and a drugs worker. They are also helped to claim benefits and access healthcare. Women move to the second hostel when they become stable. They are encouraged to live more independently.

Source: Home Office (2006)

Project 6: My Life My Choice (Boston)

Service for young people

This programme was established in 2002 with US$60,000 funding from the Dept. of Social Services (DSS) in Boston, Massachusetts. It runs in conjunction with The Home for Little Wanderers.

Those delivering the curriculum are trained to:

  • understand teenage prostitution; and
  • assess the teenager's involvement, help improve safety, and assist in recovery.

There is a ten-week curriculum delivered weekly in 90 minute sessions. It aims to:

  • decrease the glamorous role of prostitution, and increase knowledge of its danger;
  • help understanding of all aspects of prostitution including recruitment tactics;
  • increase ability to avoid or at least stay safe on street; and
  • help teenagers find the resources to leave.

Source: Goldblatt and Grollman (2005)

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