indonesian team study 1




This working paper is a report and conclusion of a study which lasted for about four months. From the various sources which enabled me to make this paper, we expect to clarify the relations between tourism and prostitution. Therefore we can see that the problem of women will become the ultimate target of this study.


In explaining the problem of tourism and its relation to prostitution, there has been a lot of discussion with people who are connected with this problem. The study was concentrated in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. The choice of this place is considered reasonable, for Jakarta is the centre of development activities and also industrial development, but at the same time it is the doorway to tourist centres throughout the country.


In the first part of this study we see some aspects of the problem of tourism in Indonesia. Then we will see the position of women as manpower in the tourist industry.


The second chapter will discuss the problem of prostitution. We will see the variety of prostitu




tion, but with some conclusions as to why (the cause and background) women involve themselves in prostitution. We will see also the relation between tourism and prostitution.


The third part will explain the problem of women and the basic rights of women. In the last part there will be a kind of theological reflection on the problem of women and its relation to the service of the church amidst the national development and personality building according to human dignity.


The data is quoted from competent institutions. And some conclusions are taken from discussions with the prostitutes and the keepers themselves.


The related aspects of the problem of women and human rights to the development of Indonesia's cultural pattern and national development will be discussed in part.


The theological reflection at the end of this paper is the final conclusion of the two participants in this workshop, after thorough discussion.



Indonesia is an archipelago consisting of more than 3,000 islands, which lie on the equator, between Asia and Australia and also between the Pacific and Indian Oceans.


Many beautiful beaches have become tourist objects of the trade, such as Bali (Sanur, Kuta, Legian and other beaches), Java (Carita, Pelabuhan Ratu, Pangandaran, Parangtritis and other beaches), Sumatera (Cermin and other beaches).


Many mountain areas have become rest and recreation sites, such as Berastagi (North Sumatera), Puncak (West Java), Tawangmangu (Central Java), and so on.


There are also small islands which have become tourist places, such as - Nias on the west side of Sumatera, Pulau-Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) on the northern part of Jakarta, Pulau Kayangan on the west side of Ujung Pandang (South Sulawesi), and so on.


Besides that, Indonesia has a wealth of tourist attraction, such as Sekaten Fair at Yogyakarta, corpse burning in Bali, corpse burial in Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi, Jakarta Fair, and many provincial arts. We can also note some specific tourist at-




tractions, such as Borobudur temple, Jepara handicraft, and batik.


Economic development of Indonesia is now actively pursued by the Government, which also has a big influence on the tourist infrastructural progress. There are no less than 25 international and 7 domestic airways operating in Jakarta.


Inter-city transportation in Java can be done by train. And there are at least 10 bus companies which support the tourist industry. Besides, in Jakarta and some other cities we have also local transportation, such as becaks, bemos, buses, trains and taxis.


The International Union of Official Travel Organization (IUCTO), which later on became World Tourism Organisation (WTO), attached to the UNO, defines tourism as follows:


(1)     People who travel for pleasure, family affairs, health and so on, either within the country or travelling abroad.

(2)     People who travel to attend conferences, either within the country or abroad.

(3)     People who travel for business, either for the company management or the company expansion abroad.

(4)     People who come by tourist cruise.

(5)     People who live in dormitories for study.


From the definition we can conclude that there are many activities, especially in the cities related to tourism. In Jakarta, the capital and the biggest city in Indonesia, according to WTO definition, there are many people coming as tourists, either from abroad or by domestic travel.


One of the supporting factors in tourist industrial development, beside some other factors as mentioned above, is to provide entertainment centres.


In Jakarta, there are scores of night clubs and discos, steambath and massage parlours, and some shopping centres. There are also some cultural centres, such as Taman Miniatur Indonesia Indah (Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature), museums and recreational centers as Taman Ria, Ta man Ria Renaja, and Ancol.


Supporting factors for the tourist industry opens new




opportunities and new employment schemes. Such employment opportunities are especially widely open for women.


Many opportunities demand high or junior level s-kills, such as hotel personnel, airline companies, and so on. But there are many which just need some special skills for certain work.


In the survey, which is done in night clubs, and massage parlours, the labour force does not have high school diplomas.


In such openings, women are required to be able to serve their guests according to their skills. If they are beautiful and courteous, such jobs are always open for them.

At Shanti beauty salon in Menteng (Jakarta), from its 33 women employees, such as hairdressers, beauticians, masseurs, only three are high school graduates. There are 11 housewives and 8 widows.


At Ibu Bandung traditional massage parlour, Kebayoran Baru (Jakarta), where masseurs are about 30 to 40 years of age, of 28 people employed - mostly women - no one has ever studied in high school.


At Flamingo night club, Ancol (Jakarta), from its 80 hostesses there are a few of them who graduated from high schools and one fifth are secondary school graduates.


From the above mentioned data we can conclude as follows:

(1)     Many work opportunities relating to the tourist industry are provided for women. In this case, no university education is needed.

(2)     The tendency to look for jobs in the tourist industry faces the applicant with hard competition, because there is no balance between the number of the labour force and the existing labour market.

(3)     Many women who are willing to work in the tourist industry are influenced by their daily needs.


Therefore there is a tendency to work at the formal jobs but at the same time utilize them to do prostitution. We will discuss this later in this paper.





This paper defines prostitution as physical surrender of a woman to the sexual needs of any male who desire it on a payment basis.


This definition should be noted before we see the relation of the problem of women in general and tourism specifically.


As it happens everywhere, the people on the prostitution stage are the prostitutes, customers, keepers, intermediaries or merchants of women. In this paper, we will deal more widely with the prostitutes themselves and their practice attached to tourism.


In fact there are two kinds of prostitution. The first one is legal prostitution, the second one is covered prostitution.


The legal prostitution is:

-brothel prostitutes in certain locations. In Jakarta there are five separate locations, based on the municipal government policy.


-call girls (prostitutes), where in practice prostitution goes on by introducing the girl to the customer in a certain place. In Jakarta, this belongs to high class prostitution, because the price is very expensive.


-street walkers, prostitutes who look for customers in public places. Such practices can be found on the pavement of the streets, where lights are not shining brightly, such as public recreational places at Jakarta Fair, Jakarta, beside the bridges, etc.


The covered prostitution is utilizing other works as a cover of the prostitutes.


Such practices are found in entertainment centers in Jakarta.


Many hostesses in the night clubs function as prostitutes with their customers after working hours. Many massage girls in steambath and massage parlours function also as prostitutes. Many score girls in billiard centres can also be utilized as prostitutes. Many beauticians in beauty salons function as prostitutes.


Last September the municipal government of Jakarta Raya closed down temporarily 16 beauty salons.




The reason was, that they also provided rooms for prostitution, although they denied it by saying that such rooms were used as massage rooms.




The following results from conversations with prostitutes are noted down. They describe how they became prostitutes:



Native of Central Java, near Sala. She is now active in the prostitution complex at Block P, Kebayoran Baru south Jakarta. When she was asked why she became a prostitute, she answered, "It is better to be a prostitute, than to be taken to Lampung or Jambi (transmigration project sites)". More than 100 friends refused to go for transmigration and chose to become prostitutes. She herself has "worked" for tour months; she is one of the 300 active prostitutes of Block P.



Native of Manado. She is a prostitute who also functions as a hostess at Sunset Bar, Taman Impian Jaya Ancol, north Jakarta.


She never thought of entering this kind of world. She even angrily called it as dirty thing.


On one Sunday, four years ago she was raped by her own stepfather. He promised to give her a motorcycle and had intercourse with her 20 times. But what she got was only contraceptive pills. This might have happened on and on, had her mother not caught them in action and immediately sent her away. She could not bear the shame, because this event was announced to all the relatives and neighbors. And she decided to become a hostess in Jakarta. She has no more desire to return to Manado. "Never. Even until death".



Native of Karawang, 27, coming from a family of good reputation which also has a rice field and water buffaloes. White skinned, sharp faced, still having the beauty of her younger days, but an empty smile. She had even been married to a man of her parents' choice, but they were not happy. They always quarrelled, because according to her, her husband was restricting her very much. But that marriage left 2 children of 9 and 6.


One night she was upset. She attempted to strangle




her husband, while he was sleeping. She does not know whether he died or survived, but the same night she fled to Jakarta, met her friend who invited her to become a prostitute. She accepts this whole heartedly, and she is still doing her job at Bongkaran Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, where she has worked for five years.


She lives near the brothel, without any future plans or ideals.



Native of Subang, West Java. Married for five times. She became a prostitute because of "dombret", a kind of "trobadour" travelling from place to place to entertain people during harvest.


At 13 she was sent by her parents to join that group, with the reason being that she had to collect money before her marriage. She became a singer and dancer and followed the travel of such an entertainer. This was a custom in Subang, Indramayu, Karawang, that girls are encouraged to earn money before their marriage.


She is now doing her job at Kramat Tunggak, North Jakarta, near the harbour. She earns about Rp. 8,000 every night and she works seven days a week. She has a fiancé now and is planning to get married for the sixth time, when there has been enough preparation.




There is one question which each prostitute finds very difficult to answer - either legal ones or the covered ones, and those who work under hostesses of entertainment centres.


The question is, "How long will this work last?" Each time when this question arises they seem to think seriously and answer carefully. There are those who answer the simple question. But many of them are quite open to discussing it, involving in the discussion the meaning, significance and aim of human life, beginning from this question.


When the discussion begins with how long they have done this work, they try to cover their answers. The answers like, "Just for two weeks, Uncle", or "just one month, Brother" and other kinds of answers show that they recently began their jobs. Therefore the questioning man will conclude for himself that he is facing a new "thing" Of course, the




price will be decided after bargaining and it can reach to a higher one.


But when the question above arises and is discussed together seriously, the prostitute will see that her future is dark, full of uncertainty. From various serious answers of how far they can go, will come thoughts on the struggle of humanity.


Someone who has involved herself in such work tells that it is very difficult to get out of it and begin a new life or look for a new job. Here we can see that she wants to leave the world of prostitution, but she does not know how to get out of it.


But there are also prostitutes who really want to get out of it and they have taken serious steps through saving their money. They think to stop after they have saved enough money and then begin a new work.


But there are a number of prostitutes, both legal and the covered ones, who discuss this question seriously, and give their answer that they want to leave this work as soon as possible. But they need some one else to accompany them (her), to look for a way out, and show the possible and necessary steps.




When we relate prostitution and the development of tourism, it seems that there is an interdependent relation. Prostitution, legally or covered, is increasing because of the supra-structure of tourism which supports the tourist industry.


Development of tourist supra-structure, such as hotel facilities and entertainment, night clubs, steambaths, billiard centres, etc., will become supporting factors for developing prostitution practices. This statement is also confirmed by some other discussions with some girls who work in these places.


There is a massage girl at Jalan Blora, Central Jakarta, who has some customers from other cities. They come to Jakarta periodically for business. They always demand an "all in" service. But she also earns a big amount of money.




There is a prostitute in the locality of Kramat Tunggak, who has many experiences of serving foreigners. Many of the customers are sailors, whose ships are anchored at the harbor of Tanjung Priuk, not far from the locality. She is proud to serve them, although they do not speak Indonesian nor English fluently.


The prostitute can only say in English, "three thousand rupiah" or "five thousand rupiah", while showing her fingers to explain the requested amount. They both can understand that they are now bargaining. I have seen such actions myself.


Two of these examples show the interdependent relationship, as mentioned above. The practice of prostitution will increase especially in big cities, such as Jakarta, where prostitution is inseparable from the development of the tourist industry.


From this survey and study, seeing Jakarta as one of the industrial cities in Indonesia, and therefore also developing the tourist industry, let me note down some problematic points to be studied:

(1)     The development and expansion of a city, from a non-industrial one towards an industrial one, cannot avoid the tendency to make tourist attractions.


As it has been explained previously, such city development, to become a tourist city, will have close relations with the increase of prostitution practices, either the legal or covered ones.


(2)     The involvement of a woman in prostitution with all kinds and all forms of practice in public, is closely related to the problems of educational level, labour market, and the shape of human relations among men and women, or husband and wife.


Therefore these urgent problems have to be met before we begin our efforts on the so called "prostitution abolishment". We must accompany her in seeking a way out from her world.


(3)     Prostitution practices as mentioned above, happen in various places in Indonesia and are related to the status and role of women with-




in the family and society, as we see from the discussions with various women in this kind of practice.


There is also an impression that many women flee to and enter the practice of prostitution as a protest to the problem of their status which is a level below men.