Who We Are:
Heart Works is a compassion and justice initiative, which works with people in prostitution and survivors of human trafficking in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in January 2007 by a team of very dedicated individuals during a prayer meeting.
We want to bring the unconditional love of God to people in prostitution in a holistic way.
Our mission is based on the Christian image of a person. Every person, regardless of origin, nationality, activity, sexual orientation, or religion is a person loved and respected by God, whose dignity is inviolable. We do not meet “prostitutes” but people who work in prostitution. We treat people who often experience degradation, violence, and stigmatization in prostitution with respect, value, and acceptance.
Our holistic approach means we are not only interested in the person in his or her current situation, but also in their story, their background, their state of mind, as well as their wishes and dreams for their own future. We understand the human being as a unity of body, soul, and spirit.
St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel, if necessary, with words.” We share the understanding that people need more than words – namely concrete deeds. At the same time, we share the conviction that in some circumstances more is needed than action – encouraging, healing, and helpful words that can reach the soul and spirit. Therefore, our approach includes both: living the Gospel in deeds (social work) and words (offers for conversations, prayer, and pastoral care).
The dignity and self-determination of the individual is of paramount importance to us. This also means that we put our own preferences on the back burner if necessary, but also point out the limits of counseling and support where Heart Works’ values would be violated.
Heart Works works together with people from many different denominations and is committed to the Kingdom ministry that Jesus began at His first coming. We desire to go to the places where He spent a good portion of His time – on the fringes of society and take our responsibility of loving God and loving our neighbor seriously. We believe that He is not only capable of changing lives, but also destroy societal normals and practices. Prayer is our basis.
Heart Works walks beside people in prostitution who are struggling or facing hardship, those who desire to leave prostitution, and those who want to start a new life. The focus is on the individual person. We visit people where they are, seek to establish a basis of trust, and advise and accompany them in their concerns in such a way that their empowerment has the highest priority. Our holistic services include self-help in the following areas:
*Language acquisition referrals (German courses)
*Health concern referrals(free gynecologist, health insurance)
*Accompanying to official offices (registration forms, proof of place of residence, etc.)
*Financial management (debt settlement)
*Legal and asylum issues (referral to legal counsel)
*Application for social benefits(minimum income allowance, family allowance)
*Referral to other help (addiction counseling, therapists)
*Job search and job training
*Housing search (or application for housing assistance)
*Pastoral assistance and counseling
The Heart Works team is interdisciplinary and offers access to other organizations, official offices, and experts. We provide our services free of charge.
Heart Works is financed completely by donations.