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Jakarta Post

Agency targets beggars, hookers for rehab

Corry Elyda
Jakarta   ●   Thu, July 11, 2013

The Jakarta Social Affairs Agency will detain beggars, vagrants, prostitutes and others labeled by the government as those with community and social problems (PMKS) if they are netted in raids launched in the last two weeks of Ramadhan.

Agency head Kian Kelana said his agency had prepared 27 social institutions throughout the city to detain PMKS caught in the raids conducted by the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP).

Kian said the Social Affairs Agency would apply two different methods in two different periods of Ramadhan in order to address the PMKS, especially seasonal beggars from neighboring regions who usually came to Jakarta during Ramadhan.

'€œFor the first two weeks of Ramadhan, we will try to persuade them. After being detained, they will be immediately released and sent back home after receiving mental and spiritual education,'€ he said.

However, Kian said his agency would get tough on those who were caught in the second half of the month.

'€œWe will place them in our institutions for education for up to two weeks after Lebaran,'€ he said.

Kian said the method was proven to work effectively during last year'€™s Lebaran as the number of beggars did not rise at that time.

'€œCelebrating Lebaran with the family in their hometowns is essential for everyone, including seasonal beggars. Most of them admitted that they gave up [begging] after being detained during Lebaran,'€ he said.

He added that 80 percent of PMKS rounded up during Ramadhan came from other cities.

Kian said his staffers and the personnel of Satpol PP would intensify raids on PMKS daily, so the city would be more peaceful during Ramadhan.

Hundreds of outsiders from neighboring cities usually visit Jakarta during Ramadhan looking for extra money, benefiting from Muslims'€™ kindness during the holy month.

Their activities range from begging, selling and singing on the street.

A 2007 bylaw on public order prohibits beggars, street singers and street children, but their number usually increases during Ramadhan.

Satpol PP chief Kukuh Hadisantoso said on Tuesday that his agency deployed around 3,500 personnel to monitor and PMKS in the city.