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Jakarta Post

In Yogya, sex workers say crackdown won’t save us

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Thu, January 31 2013   /  09:58 am

Prostitutes and activists in Yogyakarta are calling on the government not to prosecute men who pay for sex to protect the rights of women.

The chairwoman of Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (P3SY), Sarmi, said on Tuesday at a conference in Yogyakarta that the criminalization of the clients of prostitutes would decrease the bargaining power and income of sex workers.

Criminalization would also drive prostitution further underground, which would hinder HIV/AIDS education and mitigation programs, as men would be reluctant to visit prostitutes in red-light districts, where, however unpleasant, the centralization of the sex trade makes it easier to such initiatives, Sarmi said.

“We demand that the state give us protection in our workplaces,” Sarmi told the audience. “If we are the victims of violence, the police must investigate it thoroughly, and not ju...