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East Java to close all red-light districts this year

Publication Date : 24-06-2014


After the official closure of the Dolly brothel complex in Surabaya, East Java Governor Soekarwo plans to shut down all the

23 red-light districts in 22 regencies and cities in the province.

“I target to close all the brothels in East Java by the end of this year,” Soekarwo, a politician from the Democratic Party, told reporters on Monday.

He said the planned closures were not popular with those involved in the sex industry as their income relied on taking advantage of sex workers.

“They [the pimps and brokers] benefit the most from the transactional sex business. They often intimidate sex workers who want to leave the game,” he added.

Soekarwo, along with Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri and Surabaya Mayor Tri “Risma” Rismaharini witnessed the declaration of the closure of Dolly, which

was read by 100 residents of Putat Jaya sub-district at the Islamic Center in Dukuh Kupang on Wednesday.

Due to her decision to close Dolly, Risma has been on the receiving end of criticism.

Surabaya Council Commission C member Dedy Prasetyo said the closure was forcefully imposed and the administration lacked any concrete measures to follow up the


The Democratic Party politician said the closure would not resolve any of the existing issues, such as the spread of HIV/AIDS and poverty, rather, it would create new


Dedy lambasted the solutions offered by Risma, for example, the hazy details surrounding the plan to convert the area into a business district and creative industry


“If they wish to convert the area into a business or trade center, the concept and who will undertake it must be clear,” Dedy was quoted by Antara news agency as


Separately, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said he had spoken with Risma about the possible exodus of sex workers from Dolly to Central Java.

Ganjar requested information on the sex workers to monitor their movements.

“I’ve requested their names, condition and travel plans,” Ganjar said in Semarang on Monday.

Ganjar added that he could not simply stop them from entering Central Java because they were entitled to move freely.

Earlier, Central Java provincial secretary Sri Puryono said a number of regions along the border between Central and East Java had prepared for the arrival of sex

workers from Dolly.

According to him, if the administration failed to prevent them from relocating to the area, the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) would increase.

“The gateways are Rembang, Sragen and Wonogiri. They could easily move to red-light districts in Central Java. After all, they have ties and networks,” said Puryono.

Without preventive measures, he added, prostitution in Central Java would boom and covert prostitution, such as in food stalls, beauty salons as well as massage and

karaoke parlors, would also increase.

Red-light districts in Central Java can be found in Semarang (Argorejo), Kendal (Gambilangu), Semarang regency (Bandungan) and food and drink stalls along the north

coastal highway.

Separately, Muhammadiyah Central Java chapter said it was willing to accommodate the sex workers and provide them with training and religious enlightenment.

“We are willing to provide them religious counseling and skills,” said the chapter’s secretary Tafsir.


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