The Jakarta Post
Sex workers in the Dolly red-light district of Surabaya, East Java, staged a rally on Thursday, protesting the city administration's plan to shut down the area, which is one of the biggest in Southeast Asia.
'I make a living here, Bu. Don't try to intervene [in our lives]. If Dolly is closed, where should I get money? If I end up wandering the streets, it will only add to your problems,' said Susiati, a 34-year-old sex worker, while reading out a letter for Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini, who is widely known as Risma.
Susiati and other sex workers will also write letters to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin.
Risma has pledged to close down Dolly by June 18, saying that the closure would be in line with City bylaw No. 7/ 1999 that bans using a building as a place of prostitution.
Along with Risma, Social Affairs Minister Salim Segaf Al Jufri is scheduled to officially close down the area on June 18.
The closure has been strongly opposed by Risma's deputy Wisnu Sakti Buana, triggering a fresh feud between the two officials, who are both Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politicians.
Meanwhile, Surabaya Social Agency head Supomo said that his office had found it hard to list all sex workers in the area and added that they refused to move out of Dolly.
According to the agency, there are at least 1,187 sex workers and 311 pimps in Dolly. Most of them are from outside Surabaya. 'The Social Affairs Ministry has allocated a total budget of Rp 8 billion (US$687,728) for the 1,187 sex workers. They will receive Rp 5.050 million per person to start a new life,' Supomo said.
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