achtergrond

HISTORY

In 1995 Dirk Vertongen started, from the Security and Prevention Contract of the City of Antwerp, as a social worker to work with male prostitutes. This group was located mainly in the station area and in and around the Stadspark. In 1997 he came increasingly into contact with young Yugoslav flower sellers who sought to earn money on all sorts of ways, prostitution was one of them. These contacts showed that these young people had great distress to their own place. Therefore, in August 1997, espacially for them, a reception room with cooker and seats has been arranged.
The streetwork was temporarily transformed into a small reception operation, the first safe place within the anonymous city. The boys named it the "Yugo Club" which was open several evenings a week.Various activities were organized: sports activities (reason to wash afterwards), cooking (healthy food), there was music made (their own culture).
Also an attemps was made to get them to schools, to support them in contacts with the police, etc..

The project received the kwowledge of the city of Antwerp after they found the remains of the Romanian streetboy Puia in the docks of Antwerp.

The "Yugo Club" became the Project of the Children of the Street in Antwerp (PAS) with the target group "all children of the street" and had three permanent employees. In its turn PAS became a KIDS-working and worked espacially in the neighborhoud. Dirk did the reception of PAS and worked fulltime on the streets.

The need of male sex workers to a private and safe place persisted. Therefore Dirk did in 2001 a proposal to organise a place of welcome for male sex workers. Pending the approval, he started a limited welcome organization in the administrative building of CAW Antwerpen. Since October 2001, every two weeks there was a free doctor consultation by Gh@pro. Two volunteers went to the streets, made the offer known to the target group and accompanied them to the doctor.
The official approval of BOYSPROJECT came in 2002 and a suitable location was found: Quellinstraat 56.
Two years after BOYSPROJECT took the Belgian Prize for crime prevention.

In 2007 the operation within BOYSPROJECT revised and more profiled to assistance. The offer was adjusted and the focus was on outreach and the presence on the internet.

Seen more and more guys are offering themselves to customers over the internet, and there are fewer guests on the street, in the cafés or in the parks, at the same time in 2011 a new interactive website, intended only for the target group, has been created: www.info4escorts.be.
Boysproject is also present on profile and chat sites used by the target group.

Since the end of June 2011 Boysproject is located Appelmansstraat 12 in Antwerp.