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Sex workers to be trained for new jobs

Indonesia to close all red-light districts by 2019

Indonesia is embarking on an ambitious programme to close down all red-light districts in a bid to eradicate prostitution across the country.

The major step towards it has been the impending closure of Jakarta's Kalijodo red-light district, considered one of the biggest in South-east Asia.

The authorities have set Feb 29 for its closure. The bulldozers are set to move in after that.

The area will be used to build parks.

The government's plan includes closing down all 168 such red-light areas across the country by 2019, the Jakarta Post reported.

Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa said her ministry is coordinating with regional governments in an effort to close down prostitution facilities.

She added that the East Kalimantan governor had already sent her a letter informing her of the closure of the red-light district there.

In connection with the closure of Kalijodo red-light district, the Social Affairs Ministry has offered to train its former sex workers various skills so they can get better jobs, the Jakarta Post reported.

The workers, particularly those from outside Jakarta, who take up the offers will be trained at the ministry's women social working facility, said Ms Khofifah during a visit to the centre in Pasar Rebo, East Jakarta.

FORMER PROSTITUTES

"This place is open for all former prostitutes from outside Jakarta. We will register them after they arrive here," she said.

"We will continue to coordinate with the Jakarta city administration regarding the closure of Kalijodo."

The demolition of the Kalijodo red-light district has become a hot topic in the media in recent weeks.

Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, supported by the police and the military, plans to demolish all buildings occupying state land and turn it into a green area.

It is home to about 3,000 people - including plenty of legal businesses and families that have lived there for decades, Australia's ABC News reported.

"We don't know where to move. They've turned us into beggars by taking away our jobs," Ms Dewi, a local food seller, said.

She has lived in Kalijodo since 1989 and raised five children there. Her youngest is four years old.

The authorities handed her an eviction letter about a week ago.

She said: "They just came here with 250 police, giving us a deadline to leave.

"They didn't say much, just telling us this land will be cleared, and asking us to pack and leave."

Ms Dewi is not eligible for temporary public housing because she is a tenant, not a landowner.

Locals have spent the past week removing their belongings and scavenging anything of value before the area is razed.

indonesiaUncategorisedProstitutioncrimeJakarta