Bali Promotion Center

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June 24, 2014

Pastika Bali United against HIV:No Dolly sexworkers

 Prostitution complexes have been preparing for a possible influx of sex workers after Surabaya’s infamous Dolly red-light district was officially closed on Wednesday.June 18 

The mayor of Indonesia's second-largest city has officially shut down "Dolly," one of Southeast Asia's biggest red-light districts, but the world's oldest profession is still up and running despite warnings to stop.
Dolly — believed to have been named years ago after a colonial Dutch madam — was supposed to have closed June 18, but on the main drag, young women in skin-tight miniskirts and heels continue to lure guests into rooms lit only by faint red and pink lights.
 Hundreds of sex workers have rallied against the closure of one of Southeast Asia's biggest red-light districts. 

Unofficial reports found no fewer than 9,000 people, including those operating hundreds of lodges, cafés, karaoke bars, massage parlors and food stalls, were involved either directly or indirectly in
the multi-billion rupiah sex industry in Dolly, with visitors traveling from Jakarta, Bali and Batam, as well as from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and even Middle Eastern countries.

Clamping down on the country’s flourishing sex industry, including Dolly, is not as simple as providing cash compensation to those affected, which the Surabaya administration thinks is a quick fix.

The process involved in closing such a site requires profound thought together with gradual and comprehensive preparation. It cannot be viewed as an overnight program to “return” sex workers into the “open” world.

Collaboration with experts in legal, gender, health, social, demographic and cultural fields, as well as law enforcers, is crucial during the process to end Dolly’s operations and to prepare its inhabitants physically, mentally and psychologically for the changes ahead.

Risma seems to understand that in this patriarchal society, sex workers are one of the most vulnerable, misunderstood and marginalized groups in society. Sex workers constantly live and work in fear within certain “comfort zones”, such as Dolly.

Drugs and illegal gangs, people traffickers and members of organized criminal groups have also become entrenched in Dolly, presenting additional risks to the sex workers operating there.

Without adequate preparation, ongoing advocacy and, of course, legal protection, we cannot expect Dolly’s sex workers and pimps to leave the red-light district for compensation amounting to only Rp 5 million (US$417) per person, and be ready to take up new jobs and earn regular livings in our judgmental society.

The ongoing criminalization of sex workers fuels stigma, marginalization and discrimination in almost every aspect of life — domestic, public, economic, legal, sociocultural and religious. It will be a hard challenge for the sex workers to lead “normal lives” within society once they leave Dolly.

There is a plethora of evidence about the nature and extent of violence against sex workers, who are viewed as sinners, and the impact this has on their lives.

The majority of Dolly’s sex workers may well face public harassment and other forms of physical and mental abuse once they join new communities and new work places.

Some may have the courage and strength to survive in a new, hostile living space, but other sex workers who lack these characteristics may end up returning to their previous profession.

One sex worker said she would end up wandering the streets when Dolly was shut down, thus adding to Surabaya’s problems and eventually the nation’s social and health concerns.

The shutdown of Dolly is also likely to trigger problems from neighboring regencies in East Java to Bali, Jakarta, Batam, Balikpapan and as far as Papua.

The possible massive exodus of former Dolly residents has caused great concern among provincial and regional governments, HIV/AIDS and health campaigners, women and human rights advocates and members of community-based organizations across Indonesia, especially in Bali, which many consider a “land of promise” and a perfect spot for sex tourism.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has ordered his staff to use all available resources to anticipate any possible migration from Dolly.

“Within the framework of our [Bali’s] efforts to end the HIV epidemic, the closure of Dolly could become a time bomb — a social and health disaster for the island,” a doctor who conducts outreach programs for sex workers in Bali said.

Bali has an estimated 8,100 people living with HIV, with an average of 100 new cases every month (50 percent of which women).

Despite the island’s efforts to respond to the HIV epidemic, its programs look likely to fall short of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

Limited healthcare facilities and human resources will hamper the island’s preparedness to treat people with HIV. NGOs active in reaching out to people with HIV, including sex workers, are now facing funding and workforce constraints. The possible exodus of Dolly’s sex workers will be a heavy burden for this tiny resort island.

Dolly has several categories of sex workers — uneducated sex workers, brothel-based sex workers, freelance sex workers and tech-savvy sex workers. The extent of mobility of Dolly’s former sex workers will likely differ based on each of these categories.

The uneducated and older sex workers may settle in the coastal towns of East Java, from Tuban and Probolinggo to Banyuwangi. Jembrana in west Bali and Buleleng in north Bali will become their subsequent destinations.

They may also travel to several areas rich with construction sites, due to the mushrooming infrastructure and tourism projects in the island’s other regencies — especially the richest one, Badung.

Using cell phones, email, Facebook and other social media networks, the more educated, younger Dolly sex workers, may obtain easy access to the flourishing but near-saturation international sex tourism ring operating in the island’s high-end tourist destinations like Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur and Jimbaran along Bali’s well-developed southern coast.

Dolly’s former residents may add to Bali’s 3,000 registered commercial sex workers. The latest data indicates that 20 percent of them are HIV positive.

Without wishing to scapegoat sex workers for disseminating HIV, the Joint United Nations Progam on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) global review in low- and middle-income countries revealed that the burden of HIV infection was disproportionately high among female sex workers, who are 13.5 times more likely to acquire HIV than the remaining adult female population in a particular area.

The highest levels of infection were observed among female sex workers in Asia Pacific, with a 29-times higher chance of contracting HIV.

Nyoman Mangku Karmaya, a medical professor and HIV campaigner at the Bali HIV/AIDS Prevention Commission (KPA), believes sex workers in Bali, and elsewhere in Indonesia, are the most prone to contracting HIV/AIDS.

In Bali, he said, 100,000 people paid for sex every year. Around 64 percent of clients were married men, some of whom undoubtedly contracted HIV or other sexually transmitted infections and passed them on to their spouses. And this figure does not even include the number of foreign and domestic tourists who pay for sex on business trips and holidays.

At present, all stakeholders in the Balinese community are on high alert in anticipation of an influx of Dolly’s former residents.

The Balinese are well-known for being open and tolerant; indeed, Bali was even described by Dutch scholar Henk Schulte Nordholt as being “an open fortress”.

But in dealing with this issue, the Balinese may not be so tolerant and they may guard their fortress very securely.

Number of HIV/AIDS cases in Bali surpassed 9,191l
The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post and a member of the UNAIDS/UN Women Asia-Pacific Media Network and International AIDS Society.
Anticipating Dolly’s resettlement on ‘paradise island’

In the meantime, Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika told that there are an estimated 400 commercial sex workers in Bali infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.

The Governor shared these figures against suggestions that following the closure of the massive commercial sex complex “Gang Dolly - Dolly Alley ” in Surabaya, East Java, the prostitutes will shift their area of enterprise to Bali.

Bali’s governor wants Public Order officers (Satpol PP) to be more active in supporting HIV/AIDS prevention by monitoring the health and environmental conditions of red-light districts and their


Governor Made Mangku Pastika expressed his concern over the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS among commercial workers as well as entertainment workers.

“The number of cases of HIV and AIDS among these groups of the community has been alarming,” Pastika said.

“We have to work together in an integrated effort involving all related agencies to prevent this from spreading widely,” the governor added.

While Public Order officers execute frequent crackdowns on red-light districts in Denpasar and other cities in Bali, the number of commercial sex sites continues to


The frequent raids of the cafés and karaoke bars believed to be fronts for prostitution have

been considered ineffective amid a rise in the number of cases of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.

Public Order officers help monitor the health exams given to licensed sex workers and monitor red-light districts as part of the government’s HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

Yudi Arnawa, head of Bali’s social welfare agency, said that it would be difficult to eliminate commercial sex.

“It’s so complicated. If we raze one site, they will emerge in other places – unreachable and undetected by the authorities,” Arnawa said.

According to data from the HIV/AIDS Prevention Commission’s (KPAD) Bali chapter, there were currently about 2,000 registered sex workers in Bali and about 6,000 unregistered or indirect sex workers.

More than 80,000 people visit Bali’s red-light districts every year, according to the commission, only 43 percent of whom were willing to wear condoms.

Dewa Nyoman Wirawan, a professor of medicine at Udayana University and the chairman of the HIV/AIDS prevention commission, said that 22 percent of Bali’s commercial sex workers had HIV/AIDS related diseases in 2010, up from 1 percent in 2000.

HIV/AIDS, which was first detected in Bali in 1975, currently infects more than 4,000 people on the island, he said.

Wirawan cited the shocking reality afforded by a random survey conducted in one red-light district in Denpasar.

“We found seven out of 10 commercial sex workers were already infected by HIV,” Wirawan said.

The Governor said the tally of 400 HIV/AIDS infected sex workers was most probably only the tip of the iceberg based on limited health checks carried out by health officials in “locations” known for their “cottage sex industry.”

the Governor further said : “There is a great possibility there are many more commercial sex workers who are positive (for HIV/AIDS) who were not examined by health inspectors or did not want to be examined by a clinic. My recommendation is that everyone avoid (sexual) indulgence outside the home.”

Continuing, Governor Pastika said he estimates there are more than 1,000 commercial sex workers operating in Bali spread across specific “locations” were these worker ply their ancient trade. At the same time, Pastika said the 1,000 figure is probablu a low estimate, as there are many more “locations” not visited by officials.

While specific places where prostitution practices are not formally permitted by Bali's government, those living in areas where prostitution is rife are, somewhat ironically reminded by the government, still subject to the law.

Certain areas of Sanur, only hundreds of meters from the doors of five-star hotels, are heavily populated by private homes operating as bordellos.

Pastika told the press that Bali would not allow the notorious “Gang Dolly” to reopen in Bali nor would permits be issued to such operations. “Those rejecting and opposing such development would not only be from the government, but from all the people of Bali,” warned Pastika.

The governor said that to date commercial sex areas in operation in Bali have no link to the “Gang Dolly” operation in Surabaya. Nonethless, the Governor wants officials to be on guard to ensure that the closure of “Gang Dolly” in Surabaya doe not bring negative impacts to Bali.

“So far the issue of HIV/ AIDS has yet to be fully addressed and the effort to look for way out should be continued,” he said after delivering Bali Province Report on Accountability Note of 2013 at DPRD Bali, in Denpasar.

According to him, the problem of HIV/ AIDS in Bali cannot be merely associated with the fact that the island is a tourist area, but it needs the society awareness as they all already know that it is transmitted through sexual contact, so it should be avoided.

More than 20 percent of commercial sex workers in Bali have HIV/AIDS, and higher number might be there out of the data exist at the government.

“The problem is that the mindfulness is in us. People must dare to refuse because surely they know of its existence,” said Pastika.

Pastika judged that the effective way to address the spread of HIV/ AIDS due to the existence of places alleged as localization and cafés makes the operation hard, rejection from the society and consumer also should refrain.

“If nobody buys, nobody would want selling. In the law of market, the more customers are, so the more the sales,” he said.

On the other hand, Bali provincial government has also sought various anticipatory efforts such as to improve socialization in a sustainable manner to reach all levels of society and enhance cooperation with NGOs concerned with AIDS.

HIV Infections on the Rise Among Bali Sex Workers

In an attempt to tackle the rising rate of HIV/AIDS among Bali’s sex workers and their clients, 36 doctors on the Indonesian island participated in a training session for public health centers and private clinics that treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs), The Jakarta Post reports.

According to the article, the rate of STIs among Bali’s sex workers rose from 3 percent in 2003 to 14 percent in 2008. Yahya Anshori, a program director at the Bali AIDS Commission (KPAD), attributed the increase to the facts that sex workers are highly mobile and that many public clinics and doctors are not able to sufficiently treat STIs.

“Through this training, we hope doctors can extend access [to] treatment,” Anshori said. “The earlier we treat those infected, the better we can defend ourselves from HIV.”

There are an estimated 8,000 commercial sex workers in Bali.

June 12, 2014
National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) urges the Surabaya administration not to forcibly close down Dolly. Komnas HAM commissioner Dianto Bachriadi says the local administration needs to protect its residents whatever their profession, adding that the closure had the potential to cause financial losses.

June 18, 2014

Surabaya administration officially closes down Dolly.

Facts about Dolly:

- According to the Surabaya Social Agency, at least 1,020 sex workers and 311 pimps worked in the Dolly complex, most of them hailing from outside Surabaya. Dolly was known as the biggest red-light district in Southeast Asia.

- To date, the Surabaya administration has closed down six red-light districts. Tambak Asri, Klakah Rejo and Dupak Bangunsari were followed in December 2013 by the Sememi red-light district and then Jarak and Dolly in 2014.

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