PURWOKERTO - Banyumas Regent Ahmad Husen has instructed the regency's Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) and related agencies to temporarily close the Gang Sadar (GS) red-light district at Baturaden resort during Ramadan.
"This is compulsory. Stern action will be taken against anyone - including the commercial sex workers and their pimps - who dares to violate the instruction," Husen told reporters on Thursday.
He said the red-light district, which is usually home to some 350 commercial sex workers, had been subject to monitoring, especially following the increase in the number of people with HIV/AIDS in Banyumas, Central Java.
Husen said that as well as temporarily closing the red-light district in Baturraden, he had instructed his staff to monitor whether commercial sex workers formerly operating in the Dolly red-light district of Surabaya, East Java, were moving to GS.
The measure, he said, was necessary in light of a possible increase in the number of people with HIV/AIDS in the regency.
"Banyumas is ranked second in terms of the highest number of people with HIV/AIDS in Central Java. Over 50 people have died [from illnesses related to HIV/AIDS]. We don't want to have more," Husen said.
Separately, Baturaden Tourism Association chairman, Tekad Santoso, said that GS was like the soul of economic life at the recreational resort. "If GS is closed, Baturraden's economy will for sure be paralysed," Tekad said.