Prevention, street work and social work surrounding prostitution
Our mission is to offer professional and personal aid to girls and women in prostitution through prevention work, street work and social work. This work is done on the basis of a Christian vision and with respect for the choices and opinions of every woman. Scarlet Cord is part of Tot Heil des Volks. Since 1855 this foundation has taken action for evangelization and Christian aid in The Netherlands.
The name Scarlet Cord (Dutch: Scharlaken Koord) is taken from a history in the Bible: Joshua 2. The people of Israel was on its way from Egypt to the Promised Land. When they had arrived at the border, they sent two men into the city of Jericho. These men got into trouble, but were helped by Rhab, a prositute. She lived in a house on top of the city wall and gave them a place to hide. When the coast was clear, Rahab helped the two men escape trough the window via a scarlet (red) cord. To thank her, the men promised to spare Rahab and her family when Jericho was taken by the Israelites. They ordered her to tie the scarlet cord to her window, as a sign for the Israeli that she had helped the people of God. Rahab obeyed and after the city was taken, her house was the only one that was left standing: Rahab and her family were saved! In this manner the scarlet cord is still a symbol for faith, hope and freedom. The three pillars that motivate the employees to do this work and which they want to pass on to the women behind the windows.
Scarlet Cord has a triple mission: street work, prevention and social work.
"What is the story behind women in prostitution?", a woman wondered in the eighties. The work of Scarlet Cord started with this simple question. With that same question employees and volunteers of Scarlet Cord go out into the streets in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem and Deventer. They make contact, listen and make the women aware of the help that Scarlet Cord offers. We want to let them know that they are of value! Through this street work we gather information, create trust and stay informed about what happens in the world of prostitution. Scarlet Cord has also instigated an international network to ensure taht women who return to their country of birth can be sheltered there.
- Three times a week we visit the windows in teams of two to make contact with the women who work there to let them know what Scarlet Cord can do for them.
- The teams consist of employees and volunteers, trained by the street work coordinator.
- We listen to the women and try to offer practical help. For instance, Hungarian women get English lessons.
- Many women have a religious background and like it when we talk to them about it.
- The women get leaflets with stories of women and makes them think about their own situation.
- We try to build up relationships and offer them our help.
An eighteen year old girl that works in the Red Light District, once said: "If I had known that these men existed, I wouldn't have ended up here". This ignorance in many young girls was the reason for Scarlet Cord to start with 'Beware of Loverboys'. This teaching project makes girls aware of the fact that they are at risk of getting into the wrong relationship. Many girls also find it difficult to indicate their sexual limits. That is why for schools and institutions Scarlet Cords developed 'Love Limits', a defensibility training for girls.
Beware of Loverboys
- Training, lectures and workshops for girls from 13 to 18.
- Lectures for parents, teachers, communicy workers and other interested people.
- Training for teachers, group leaders, school social workers and aid givers.
- Nationwide we offer: (classroom)training, lectures and workshops.
- We maintain contacts with police, youth work, schools and other aid organizations.
- Scarlet Cord had developed a website: www.bewareofloverboys.nl.
- The prevention work team is part of the street work in Amsterdam.
- The prevention employees have a background in education or social work.
- For girls in the age of 13 to 18 years.
- Love Limits is de defensibility training that we developed at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (directorate Emancipation).
- The training consists of six meetings that all have their own theme, like posture, use of voice, boundaries, relationships and your own strengths.
- The training is psycho-psysical and uses different methods like role-plays, selfdefense techniques and assignments.
- The training is given by a certified female defensibilty teacher and expert on the issue of loverboys.
- Scarlet Cord has developed a website: www.lovelimits.nl
Employees of Scarlet Cord discover that women find it difficult to leave prostitution without assistance. Debts and a negatieve self-image may constitute a barrier to get out. And: what do you put on your résumé? That's why Scarlet Cord helpt the women to work at these limitations and to find a new perspective. Through practical, psychosociale and (if they wish it) pastoral help and through work and career assistance.
A New Perspective!
Scarlet Cord, in association with Randstad HR Solutions, has developed a unique program for women who want to stop working in prostitution. The program is called 'Een Nieuw Perspectief!' (A New Perspective!) and assits women who want to leave prostitution or are considering it. Scarlet Cord offers the women who participate in the program practical assistance, like help with debt repayment or through individual talks and group mettings where women attend a defensibility training. Randstad ensures internships and assists the women in finding an education or a job. In Amsterdam a pilot has been functioning since 1 februari 2009. Sinds 1 Octobre 2009 social workers of Scarlet Cord have also been working in Deventer.
Scharlaken Koord Nederland (Scarlet Cord, main office, The Netherlands)
1012 BV Amsterdam
T. +31 (0) 20 - 622 68 97
F. +31 (0) 20 - 330 22 24