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Call to Arms in Bali's Fight Against Prostituion

Bali Governor Calls for Community Leaders to Forcibly Close Prostitution Centers in Bali to Prevent the Spread of HIV/AIDS

(4/14/2014) Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika is calling on the people of Bali to be united in rejecting “lokalisasi” or the established pockets of prostitution spread across the Island.

Speaking to Beritadewata.com on Friday, April 11, 2014, Pastika said: I ask people living in proximity of ‘lokalisasi’ – be they openly operating or camouflaged in cafes – to be united in rejecting these activities (prostitution). The threat of HIV/AIDS in Bali at this time is extraordinary. Around 20% of commercial sex workers in Bali are estimated to be HIV positive. What can we expect, if this situation is allowed to continue? The backstreet ‘cafes’ are a major source of the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

The governor not only urged the people of Bali to be united in rejecting prostitution in their communities, but also cited specific locations rife with prostitution practice such as Jalan Danau Tempe, Jalan Danau Poso, Jalan Danau Blanjong, Padanggalak, Jalan Bung Tomo, the area surrounding Lumintang and Jalan Gunung Lawuh – all located in Bali’s capital of Denpasar. The governor also mentioned Pesiapan in Tabanan, Delod Berawah in Jembrana, Bungkulan in Buleleng and a number of other prostitution areas.

Urging aggressive, vigilante-like action by the public to close Bali’s prostitution centers, Pastika continued, saying: “All these areas are illegal, as it is impossible for such places to be licensed. People in these areas know who is operating these businesses; get together and throw them out! Go ahead and throw them out! Only then can the government come in and help finally settle the matter. We (the government) have no method for closing these illegal businesses (because they are unregistered). So, how to close them? This must also be done informally. The people must take steps to close them (the prostitution centers) down.”

Pastika also called on the media to publicize widely the names and locations of prostitution centers in Bali in all local newspapers. The governor said this is the way for those operating and backing such businesses to know that both the government and the people no longer accept these enterprises.

He also said that Balinese should be forbidden from using the services of commercial sex workers. “We know exactly the number of commercial sex workers in Bali because the number of backstreet cafes continues to grow. These illegal cafes can even now be found in the villages.” Said Pastika.

The number of locations is out of control and seldom visited by health officials and medical teams. In some instances, such as Jalan IB Mantra and the village of Tangtu, a prominent Ramos Cafe can be found operating openly on Jalan IB Mantra in a location almost next door to the east Denpasar Polsek (Police precinct) and about 200 meters from two schools.

Showing his growing frustration, Pastika, who once served as the Island’s Chief of Police, said: “We can continue to try to persuade these places to close, but the results are inadequate. We need the cooperative action of the people and all associated agencies.”