Who We Are:
Heart Factory is a faith-based NGO that reaches out and ministers holistically to people in prostitution and victims of Sex Trafficking. We believe that God’s love is available to all people and is capable of bringing hope, change and new meaning to their lives.
Heart Factory was born in January 2007 during a prayer meeting. God had been at work in the lives of many individuals over a period of months and years, and through a miraculous series of events, He brought together 23 people from nine different churches on that January evening. Each one had a story of how God had worked in them to become aware of the needs of women, who were prostituting themselves on the streets of Vienna. Each person had a similar burden to see a ministry established that could be the hands and feet of Jesus to these very valuable and loved people.
Right from the beginning God “gifted” the ministry with people who had had years of experience working with people on the streets. Because of that we were able to begin that very week to go out to where the women are. There we have the opportunity to meet, speak to, encourage, laugh, cry, celebrate birthdays, and pray with over 100 women weekly in four different outreaches.
Over the months and years as relationships of trust have deepened and developed, the ministry has grown to include things like: helping women find a new place to live, helping them paint their apartment, finding used or affordable furniture, accompanying them to different agencies, visiting them in prison or the hospital, helping them find new work and basically just being there for and spending time with them as they begin to build a new life. Through all these things we share the love of Christ with them.
The foundation of our work is the 3-5 outreaches every week on the street and in clubs and brothels. There we have contact with approximately 100-120 women weekly. We also meet new women who have just begun in prostitution almost every week. Follow-up is always important and so we go out of our way to make sure that we regularly stop and visit women who work alone in the small studios and clubs as well.
Our follow-up work has grown exponentially.
Presently there are fourteen people in our program who have left prostitution. We meet with each person weekly for counseling and when necessary they receive a small financial allowance in order to survive. We are continually searching for other work options, but the possibilities are extremely limited due to the fact that most of the people we work with are refugees or migrants from Eastern Europe. Depending on the situation, we also offer the people we work with our friendship and do things like inviting them to our house or going out with them on outings in order to show them the more beautiful side of life. We also provide an on-going low-key program for people who have been out of prostitution for a while, as well as those still in prostitution in order to offer continuing support. This type of counseling is very individual and is custom fit to the situation of the person at the time.
A big problem, besides the lack of job opportunities, is the lack of housing opportunities. On the one side we are amazed over and over at the survival strategies that individuals bring with them. On the other hand the possibilities we have to help are sometimes not much more than the help to survival. Some of the people we work with are here illegally and are not yet willing to return to safe places we network with in their countries of origin.
– Holistic and individual counseling and care
– Networking both nationally and internationally
– Prevention work both nationally and internationally
– Training, care und supervision for our employees and volunteers
– Political voice