A bust by Immigration early Saturday morning at a nightclub in Senayan, South Jakarta, resulted in the detainment of 17 women, all citizens of Morocco, suspected of being in Indonesia for sex work.
According to immigration officials, six of the 17 women were released after investigators did not find any indication that they were working as prostitutes. The other 11 were found to frequently travel back and forth to Jakarta and were unable to give Immigration a satisfying explanation as to why.
Officials told the media that the women mainly targeted foreign customers and charged up to Rp 5 million for their services.
“95 percent targeted foreigners as well. Foreign expatriates or Arab men,” Central Jakarta Immigration Head Juliadin Hidayawan told Detik on Saturday.
Immigration is still investigating the case along with police. They suspect the women work for an organized prostitution ring.
The women were in Indonesia on tourist visas. Morocco is one of the countries to which Indonesia has granted free tourist visas to, and some officials argue these kinds of crimes are a result of the visa free policy.
Women from Morocco are regularly arrested on suspicion of sex work in Indonesia, often in the Puncak area of Bogor which is a popular vacation spot for Arab men.
Although officials did not release the name of the nightclub in which the bust took place, the rumor is that it happened at De Leila, a nightlife venue in FX mall that is known to cater towards Middle Easterners.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.