The denizens of "Dolly", the red light district in Surabaya, East Java, are spreading the safe sex message.
Dolly was apparently named after the first, Dutch, brothel madam in the area, in colonial times. Its fame, or notoriety, has spread far and wide with Dolly sometimes being the first thing non-locals think of when they hear the name of Surabaya mentioned.
There are estimated to be about 1600 prostitutes (pekerja seks komersial (PSK)) living and working in the legal red light district of Dolly, in rather close proximity to ordinary residential neighbourhoods, with their mosques, houses, kindergartens, etc. Of these 1600 women and girls it is reported mediaindo that about 70 took part in a "jalan sehat", or mini walkathon, on August 20th, to mark the 61st anniversary of Indonesian independence on August 17th. One of the aims of the walk, apart from paying respects to the national day, was to raise awareness of the issue of safe sex and condom usage.
The walk, beginning, perhaps rather oddly, from outside the Islamic Centre building on Jalan Dukuh Kupang Timur, wound its way through the district and into the aforesaid regular neighbourhoods, or kampungs. After the walk finished the girls offered condom packets to passers-by, packets which evidently did not actually contain the product itself, but instead a ticket for a lucky draw in which various prizes such as mobile phones and rice cookers were given away.
The "Kampanye Wajib Kondom", or Use a Condom Campaign, began on 11th of June 2006, said a local government official.
It's based on regional law number 5 of 2005 dealing with combating AIDS, especially in the Dolly and Jarak red light districts, which have 1600 prostitutes and which have experienced an increase in the incidence of AIDS.
(Itu didasari Perda 5 Tahun 2005 di Jatim untuk mencegah HIV/AIDS, apalagi di lokalisasi Dolly dan Jarak yang berpenghuni 1.600 PSK itu mengalami peningkatan kasus HIV/AIDS.)
About 8% of working girls in Dolly are believed to be infected with HIV this year, up from 3.2% in 2002.
One prostitute in Dolly, a girl hailing from Pandaan in East Java, said that she and all her friends supported the condom usage campaign because they were afraid of getting the dreaded disease. The problem, she said, was that many brothel patrons were loathe to use "protection". She only "served" them and hence could not press the issue.
Article in India News of April 28th, 2007 says the working girls of Dolly have nothing much to do due to the Sidoarjo mudflow disaster causing a slow-down in business to the area. Eva Sasmito, 26, a prostitute in Dolly for almost two years says:
It has been unbelievably quiet for us these past months after the mud disaster hit. I used to get up to eight clients a night, but now even one per night is considered good, maybe a maximum three.
The mudflow has forced the main toll road between Sidoarjo and Surabaya to close many times as earth dams protecting the freeway have burst. When the toll road is open there are huge traffic jams, and as a result, sex tourists cannot get to Dolly.
In the lower-class area of Jarak, a part of Dolly where older prostitutes work, the hard times are even worse. During good times, they compete with younger girls, but after the mud disaster, there are virtually no customers for them now. indiaenews