The central Argentine province of Cordoba is offering prostitutes airfare to return home, even to other countries, after passing a law to close brothels as part of a war on human trafficking.

They are first offered the chance to go to a shelter or hotel and also the possibility of a subsidy and later even a job

- Maria Amelia Chiofalo

Cordoba's secretary of Human Trafficking Prevention, Maria Amelia Chiofalo, said Monday that air tickets are being offered to prostitutes as one option among several.

"They are first offered the chance to go to a shelter or hotel and also the possibility of a subsidy and later even a job," she said in a statement posted on the Web site of the daily La Voz del Interior.

The newspaper published the testimonies of three women who worked as prostitutes at brothels in Cordoba that were closed after the law was passed and who refused the offer of air tickets to go back to where they came from.

Among them was a 35-year-old Dominican, Maria, who rejected the alternative of returning to her own country.

"I'm going to keep working. I send money to my son so he can attend a private school, I told the psychologists that I need a job that pays 3,000 pesos ($660) a month in order to quit prostitution. But they haven't offered me anything. So who's going to support my kids? I didn't come to Argentina because I wanted to - I came out of necessity," the woman said.

La Voz said, however, that most of the women approached in the operation to close down Cordoba's brothels did accept the airfare home.

The coordinator of the Halt Human Trafficking Network, Viviana Caminos, hailed the Cordoba law but said that the "measure is worthless if it's not accompanied by public policies of reinsertion into society at the place to which the victim returns."

"The women tend to arrive at their place of origin only to find no assistance of any kind. That's the truth," Caminos said. 

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