“Some are the children of people moving from the mainland to Hong Kong,” she said. “Though they have been living in the city for years, they still have difficulty adapting.”
6 July 2021
We’re nominated for the Spirit of HK Award!
“Spirit of Hong Kong Awards: for city’s vulnerable young women, Teen's Key is aiming to provide support in safe, non-judgmental way”
- Teen’s Key – Young Women Development Network wants to help women and young girls involved in prostitution to turn their lives around
- Group has been nominated for Spirit of Teamwork award which recognises those embracing their roles as socially responsible corporate citizens
The harsh reality facing female sex workers in Hong Kong, and the world over, is they are often marginalised by society even though most have been forced into their profession by economic circumstances beyond their control.
For women and young girls needing help, support can be hard to come by, but Teen’s Key – Young Women Development Network, is one group providing a safe, supportive and non-judgmental environment for those who need it.
Bowie Lam Po-yee, founder and executive director of the non-profit organisation, said her team wanted to help sex-workers tackle their problems head-on.
According to the 34-year-old, most young girls who ended up in the business had often lacked family support and other means of living.
For Lam and her teammates, their main focus is to offer these young women a way out.
Under Lam’s leadership, Teen’s Key has provided support for more than 11,600 young women through its outreach programme and a range of services.
Founded in 2011, the organisation also serves young women facing unwanted pregnancies or sexual health risks. While most of its services are free, some, such as pregnancy tests and school workshops, are provided at cost price.
The group’s work has earned it a nomination for this year’s Spirit of Hong Kong Awards. The annual event, co-organised by the South China Morning Post and property developer Sino Group, celebrates the achievements of remarkable people whose endeavours often go unnoticed by the public.
Julie Morton, at The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex, recommended Lam’s team for this year’s Spirit of Teamwork award, which recognises unsung groups embracing their roles as socially responsible corporate citizens.
Lam honed her management skills by pursuing an executive MBA programme at the institution, while her teammates, who are in their mid-20s, are also keen to move with the times and explore different new channels to reach out to their potential clients.
Megan Yik Kwan-pik said the team would keep a close eye on internet users flagging hashtags, such as #PTGF (part-time girlfriend).
She recalled helping a college student who was an escort and was living on her own.
“We provided her with a rental subsidy after the assessment of her situation by a social worker,” Yik said.
Eunice Ho Po-yan said it could be difficult to earn a client’s trust, as many of them felt ashamed of what they were doing.
“There was a client who only revealed her full name to me after more than a year of continued engagement,” she said.
Carey Choi Ka-lee said she had helped a girl who wanted to get an abortion.
“She eventually gave birth and the baby boy was adopted,” she said. “We gave her emotional support and accompanied her throughout.”
Rachel Chow Chiu-yan said the team had dealt with high-risk cases that required urgent intervention.
“It’s important that at-risk girls have access to a platform that provides counselling support and resources matching,” she said.
Full story @ SCMP News | published: 11:00am, 15 Jun, 2021