Surabaya's red-light ‘Dolly’ district to close next month

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Officials in Indonesia’s Surabaya city said on Wednesday that one of South-east Asia’s biggest red-light districts will close for business next month.

The move comes despite protests by hundreds of sex workers who say the shutdown will leave them destitute.

Workers against the move earlier blockaded roads to “Dolly”, a seedy district of narrow lanes where women are famously touted in shop windows of old crumbling buildings in Indonesia’s second-biggest city.

Protesters covered their faces with black cloths emblazoned with slogans rejecting Dolly’s closure and banged pots and pans together, AFP reported.

“Fry Risma! Fry Risma!” they shouted, using the nickname for Surabaya mayor Tri Rismaharini, who spearheaded the closure and put it high on her administration’s agenda.

An Indonesian sex worker wearing a mask participating in a protest demonstration in Surabaya city's red-light.  Photo:

Authorities said around 25 brothels could continue to operate until the end of next month.

1,400 sex workers

There are an estimated 1,400 sex workers in Dolly’s brothels.

Authorities are offering them around five million rupiah (S$525) each and occupational training to give up their jobs.

The administration reportedly hopes to transform the district to a shopping strip that will include bakeries and handicraft stalls.

The name Dolly is believed to come from a Dutch madam who ran a brothel in the city during the Netherlands’ colonial rule of Indonesia.​

Source: AFP