Red-light districts in Indonesia to be closed by 2019

"Prostitution can never be erased from the Earth but we must try to stop it corrupting our youth."

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Indonesia plans to close all red-light districts in the country by 2019, an official said Wednesday, stepping up a campaign against prostitution after a controversial push to clear up a brothel area of Jakarta.

The government will instruct local authorities to shut down an estimated 100 red-light districts across the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, said Sonny Manalu, a senior official at the social affairs ministry.

"We believe that red-light districts will affect children who live nearby negatively," he told AFP.

"Prostitution can never be erased from the Earth but we must try to stop it corrupting our youth."

The move comes after a weeks-long push to close down one of the capital's most notorious red-light districts, called Kalijodo, and replace the illegal brothels and bars with parks.

Jakarta authorities decided to take action after a fatal car accident early this month blamed on a man who had been drinking in the riverside shanty.

But the plan has angered residents, as many are set to be evicted and see their houses demolished in the coming days.

Prostitution is illegal in Indonesia but is rampant in major cities.
Local governments, who have substantial power, have already closed 68 red-light districts in recent years, according to Manalu.
This includes Dolly in the country's second-biggest city Surabaya, which was thought to be the largest red-light district in Southeast Asia.

The government is promising to provide training, counselling and assistance for sex workers who their lose their jobs after the closures.

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