What is the legality of prostitution in Indonesia?

Is Prostitution Legal in Indonesia?

Prostitution is technically illegal in Indonesia. However, the country is home to numerous brothels and red-light districts, which operate with a certain level of acceptance by local authorities. Prostitution is regulated under Article 296 of the Indonesian Criminal Code, which states that anyone who intentionally facilitates or mediates in the offering of a person for immoral acts for payment can be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of one year and four months or a fine of a maximum of fifteen thousand rupiahs.

What Are the Penalties and Enforcement for Prostitution in Indonesia?

The penalties for prostitution in Indonesia vary depending on the specific offense committed. For example:

  • Facilitating or mediating in prostitution: Imprisonment for a maximum of one year and four months or a fine of a maximum of fifteen thousand rupiahs.
  • Operating a brothel: Imprisonment for a maximum of four years and a fine of a maximum of ninety thousand rupiahs.
  • Forcing someone into prostitution: Imprisonment for a maximum of six years and a fine of a maximum of three hundred thousand rupiahs.

Despite these penalties, enforcement is often inconsistent and corruption is widespread among Indonesian police. As a result, many brothels and red-light districts continue to operate in the country.

How is Prostitution Referred to Locally in Indonesia?

In Indonesia, prostitution is often referred to as jual diri (literally, selling oneself) or praktek (practice). Additionally, sex workers are sometimes referred to as PSK (short for pekerja seks komersial or commercial sex workers).

What is the History of Prostitution in Indonesia?

Prostitution has been present in Indonesia for centuries, dating back to the pre-colonial era. During the Dutch colonial period, the practice was regulated, and brothels were established in designated areas, such as the infamous Lokalisasi red-light districts. After Indonesia gained independence, the new government attempted to eliminate prostitution by closing brothels and implementing anti-prostitution laws. However, these efforts were largely unsuccessful, and prostitution continues to be a significant issue in the country today.

In recent years, there have been efforts to crack down on prostitution, with some local governments shutting down red-light districts. However, these efforts have been met with resistance from sex workers and their supporters, who argue that closing brothels will only force the industry underground and make it more dangerous for those involved.

Where Can You Find Helpful Links, Government Laws, and Resources Related to Prostitution in Indonesia?

For those interested in learning more about prostitution in Indonesia, the following resources can be helpful:

  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – Trafficking in Persons in Indonesia Summary Report 2020
  • Human Rights Watch – The Cost of Human Rights: Indonesia’s Anti-Prostitution Policies
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) – Decent Work and the Informal Economy in Indonesia
  • Cornell Law School – Regulating Prostitution in Indonesia

These resources provide valuable information on the legal framework surrounding prostitution in Indonesia, as well as insights into the challenges and debates surrounding the issue.

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