Indonesia to close 100 red-light districts by 2019

The Indonesian government will close all 100 remaining red-light districts across the country by 2019, an official said, amid a stand-off in Jakarta over the administration’s plans to evict residents of a prostitution complex. 

The government has shut down 68 prostitution areas and will close another 100 by 2019, said Sonny Manalu, director for rehabilitation at the Social Affairs Ministry.

“We have no illusion we can eradicate prostitution, but the presence of red-light districts has corrupted our young generation,” Manalu said.

“Many red-light districts are in residential neighbourhoods, and children have been badly affected because they see things they’re not supposed to see every day,” he said.

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has given the residents of Kalijodo, a decades-old red-light district in the capital’s north, to vacate their homes and businesses until the end of the month, saying the area will be turned into an open green space as intended in the city’s spatial plan.

Some residents have vowed to stay put, sparking fears of violent confrontation.

In 2014, the mayor of Surabaya, Tri Rismaharini, closed the Dolly red-light district there, triggering weeks of protests from prostitutes, pimps and brothel owners.

Under Indonesian law, facilitating prostitution is punishable up to one and a half years in prison.

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