Huỳnh Thanh Khiết, deputy head of the city Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that the new club would be similar to the one already operating - the Sen Xanh Club for women sex workers.

Ngô Mộng Linh, the head of Sen Xanh, said she used to be a sex worker and is able to encourage others to attend her club.

Information about the assistance provided by Sen Xanh is spread by word of mouth between sex workers, Linh said.

At the club they get health and psychological counselling, are taught about legal procedures to obtain personal papers and are provided with vocational training and assistance to start small businesses, often in co-operation with other partners.

The most disadvantaged among them are provided with free health insurance.

The club was set up in late 2014 as part of a project to enhance access to social services for female sex workers by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in co-operation with CARE International Organization in Vietnam, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.

The project is being piloted in HCM City, Quảng Ninh and Cần Thơ for women at risk of exploitation, abuse and violence, who have little access to basic services such as healthcare and legal protection.

It seeks to address the underlying causes of the marginalization of female sex workers and aims to forge supportive policy and legal approaches to sex work in order to provide the women with a stronger voice and equitable access to protections and services.

Lê Thị Hà, deputy head of the central Department of Social Evils Prevention, said her department would strengthen co-operation with other relevant agencies to improve the effectiveness of Sen Xanh and the new club.

Viet Nam News - June 22 2016