Indonesian Child Sex Workers Recruited on Facebook
Amir Tejo & Dessy Sagita
Luxury goods, not the struggle for survival, lured two girls aged 15
and 16 to join a prostitution ring in Surabaya organized over the
social networking site Facebook, a senior East Java Police intelligence
officer said on Monday.
“Their parents were hysterical when
they learned that their daughters had turned to prostitution,” Adjutant
Sr. Comr. Anom Wibowo said, adding that the police were still
interrogating two men from Surabaya suspected of running the ring.
said the parents of the two girls were deeply distressed by the
revelations and could not understand how either girl had become
involved when both came from middle-class families without any
Masnah Sari, chief of the Indonesian
Child Protection Commission (Kpai), said luxury items were the main
draw for young girls caught up in prostitution rings.
it is so easy to find a young girl selling herself to older men because
she wants a Blackberry,” Masnah said, adding that underage prostitution
in Indonesia was becoming harder to detect because the organizations
had turned to the Internet to market their services.
alarming because sex offenders can now contact the children via the
Internet. They do not have to scour the red-light areas. Such crimes
are occurring because parents are unable to find out what their
children are getting up to on the Internet.”
Masnah has sent a
letter to Communication and Information Technology Minister Tifatul
Sembiring demanding that this case be monitored.
The suspects — identified as, Afif Muchilisin, 20, and Endry Margarini, also known as Vey, 20 — were arrested on Monday.
had allegedly posted the girls’ pictures on his personal Facebook Web
page and arranged for “hook-ups” through that account, Anom said.
Surabaya Police Chief Sr. Comr. Ike Edwin said that Vey had posted the pictures of 25 girls on Facebook.
Most of the girls, he said, were still in high school, and some were as young as 15.
allege that the men would arrange for the girls to meet with clients
via Facebook’s instant messaging service, charging between Rp 500,000
and Rp 800,000 per session.
Ike said that police learned of
the ring following a two-week stakeout at a fast food restaurant in
Surabaya, which detectives suspected was being used as a meeting point.
This surveillance led to a raid on a hotel room and the arrest of two
men, one of whom reportedly told police of Vey’s Facebook operation.