Indonesia to close down all red-light districts by 2019

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Bangkok, Feb 24 (IANS) Indonesia plans to close down all red-light districts in the country by 2019, media reports said on Wednesday.

The plan, under the supervision of the Indonesian Social Affairs Ministry, looks to shutting down a total of 168 such prostitution zones in the country, Efe news agency reported.

While 68 red-light areas have already been closed down, the remaining will be closed down in the next three years, said Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawasan.

The ministry offers programmes for the social rehabilitation of women trapped in the sex trade.

According to Unicef, 30 percent of sex workers in the country are minors.

Prostitution is widespread in the Indonesian archipelago, flourishing mainly in big cities such as Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung and tourist destinations like Bali and Riau, the last being a hub for visitors principally from Singapore.

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Theoretically, prostitution is legal in the country as it is not classified under any law in Indonesia — however, the police tends to penalise it by including it among offences related to indecency or outrage to public morality.

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