‘Street miles’ awarded for good behaviour can be used to acquire free designer clothes or furniture
EINDHOVEN: The Dutch city of Eindhoven is to award credit points to street prostitutes in exchange for good behaviour. Prostitutes with enough points will get street miles from the City Hall which they can use to buy designer clothes and furniture. In return they must take part in a city plan to help prostitutes find alternative employment.Dutch cities are starting to close red light districts where street prostitutes operate.
Eindhoven plans to close the zone for street prostitutes by 2011. “We needed to come up with incentives that these women might latch on to,” said Veronique Beurskens of Eindhoven council, who is leading a drive to rid the city of street prostitution.
But the initiative has been lampooned in the Dutch media, where some commentators have dubbed it the “whore miles” scheme. The plan is also receiving a lukewarm welcome among some prostitutes.
“This is fine if they actually want to move on to something else but some might not want to,” said Metje Blaak from Red Thread, the Dutch Prostitutes’ Union. “At the end of the day, this is a step towards making street prostitution illegal, and what will happen to the women then?” She added that prostitutes do not easily make the switch to a normal nine-to-five job. “They often miss the adrenaline rush. They need work where they feel they are really achieving something.”
Red Thread is enthusiastic about the plan to help street prostitutes seek another profession. With street miles from the City Hall, prostitutes can buy designer clothes and furniture from outlets like the Eindhoven Design Academy and the International School of Design in Cologne.
To earn credit points for street miles, the prostitutes must take part in activities such as workshops where they can learn a range of skills to equip themselves for other work.Eindhoven is unique in pioneering material incentives to tempt women into considering an alternative path to prostitution. The city is also planning to fund assertiveness classes top help prostitutes sever ties with their pimps and is offering workshops, advice and courses on how to find a new job.
Another unusual idea the council are looking at is the creation of a fashion label conceived by prostitutes themselves, a project which has already started in Amsterdam.
6 months ago