Anyone could venture into Dolly for its sexual services without having to worry about being judged.But Dolly, once Southeast Asia’s largest red-light district, is now a ghost town.“In reality sex workers and pimps made up only 10% of the number of people who made a living here in Dolly.
At the time, the workers there were producing cheap Indonesian soccer cleats.
It soon became apparent that there were no former prostitutes being trained and working in this small factory.
There, we met with three prostitutes with very distinct backgrounds, and learned about how their lives were affected in the time since Dolly ceased to be the debauchery capital of Southeast Asia.
(Click on the photos of the prostitutes below to read about their stories) It is during the day that the positive effects of the shutdown become apparent.
Brothels also generally enforced the government’s “100% condom use” approach to HIV prevention among sex workers.
But girls working in Surabaya’s new underground sex trade often report feeling too afraid to force their clients to use condoms.“And up to this moment, this matter hasn’t been touched on, [not even by] human rights institutions.” The girls Anis, who wears a hijab, also worries about the sex workers.She believes that the problem of prostitution is a humanitarian issue, not a religious or political matter.Our goal was to find out what the future holds for Dolly and the people whose lives had become entwined with its sex industry. Before its shutdown, people used to say that the Surabayan red-light district was a beacon of sexual liberation in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.Ask anyone who visited Dolly in its heyday, and they’ll tell you about the red light district’s raucous and debaucherous atmosphere.There were a surprising number of kids in the neighborhood, and one can only wonder how they would have been influenced by the thriving brothels of Dolly’s yesteryears.