Authorities have arrested eight people allegedly involved in a prostitution ring based in an apartment complex in Central Jakarta, from which 12 of the sex workers were underage girls.
“The police have rescued 47 [sex workers], consisting of 24 men and 23 women,” Burhanuddin, who heads Central Jakarta Police’s Crime Investigation Unit, said in a press conference today.
“12 girls are still underage.”
Police said the prostitution ring was based in several apartment units at Green Pramuka City apartment complex in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta. They received a report from a 13-year-old victim, who was promised a job as a shopkeeper by one of the alleged pimps in September of last year.
This suspect, identified by his initials SDQ, had asked for permission from the victim’s parents before taking her with him.
“The victim was taken to the apartment and persuaded to serve guests for sexual intercourse,” Burhanuddin said.
The victim managed to escape in mid-December, and told her parents about the prostitution ring before filing a police report.
The police have so far named eight alleged pimps as suspects. SDQ was assisted by other suspects — identified as SE and CP — to offer the service through MiChat, a messaging app that has been associated with online sex work in Indonesia.
The suspects have been charged with articles under Indonesia’s child protection law and criminal code (KUHP) on prostitution and abduction, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Meanwhile, the 47 people police rescued have been handed over to the social agency for assistance.
Green Pramuka City management said it was previously unaware of the prostitution ring and speculated that it may have been able to operate out of the apartment complex because the units were rented out by owners through unofficial brokers for short stays, often by the day.