[WATCH] Dar Hosea to run prison support programme for women with links to prostitution

An agreement signed between the government and the Sisters of Charity will see €40,000 being invested in a prison programme that helps rehabilitate victims of prostitution

The programme will be run by Dar Hosea and will look to help victims of prostitution prepare for a new life once they leave prison
The programme will be run by Dar Hosea and will look to help victims of prostitution prepare for a new life once they leave prison

Female inmates serving a prison sentence at the Corradino Correctional Facility will be able to participate in a “professional programme” intended to help them leave prostitution behind them and to build a new life once they are free.

The programme will be provided by the Sisters of Charity who run Dar Hosea, a home offering support to victims of prostitution, as part of an agreement with the government that was signed today. The agreement will see the government fork out €40,000 for the administration of the programme.

Speaking at the signing, Sister Salvina Bezzina said the prison programme will form part of the Dar Hosea project. The nuns, she said, currently work with laypersons, professionals and volunteers for the good of others.

“Through this agreement which we are signing today, we will be able to strengthen our work with the prison’s administration, who we will be working hand in hand with to help these women,” Bezzina said.

Bezzina explained that the programme would see different media and skills employed to enrich inmates’ lives and allow them to discover talents.

Most importantly, she said, it would help the women build relationships with social workers and others working on the project, while also creating a link with Dar Hosea, which they might need once they leave prison. 

Bezzina said the service would be open both to inmates who had already been in contact with the home, as well as others who might have never sought help before but who were involved in prostitution in the past.

She thanked the government for encouraging the sisters in their work and for helping them strengthen the service they offered.

Reforms parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli said that when she started thinking about the reform, she had, as a starting point, tried to find out what options were available to women looking to leave prostitution.

To her disappointment, Farrugia Portelli said she soon realised that Dar Hosea was the only available option – a home which only a few victims and the people who work there know the location of, for security reasons. 

She recounted a story of a woman who had been introduced to her by the sisters, who had found herself in prostitution because she was pushed into it by her husband who had his own problems. The woman, she said, was still working as a prostitute at the time, but had slowly managed to turn her life around.

Prison director Colonel Alex Dalli welcomed the programme, insisting that it was in line with efforts currently underway to organise similar initiatives to ensure that inmates are prepared to for life after prison.

Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said that while he believed that government entities could do a lot of work in helping vulnerable people, the input of voluntary organisations can lead to government offering a far superior service.

Farrugia stressed that in addition to helping inmates, attention also needed to be given to their families who often experienced just as much suffering. In this regard, he said it was essential for society to ensure that their children or family members, were not forced into a similar lifestyle as a result.

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