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Hundreds of RI'S women believed to work as prostitutes in Saudi Arabia

Kompas - February 7, 1997

Jakarta – Minister for Women's Affairs Mien Sugandhi will soon leave for Saudi Arabia to probe into an allegation that hundreds of Indonesian women are working as prostitutes in the Middle East country.

"Not only tens of women but hundreds of Indonesian female workers have become prostitutes (in Saudi Arabia)," the minister said after meeting President Soeharto here Thursday.

The female workers came from under-developed villages in the country, she said adding that most of them are under 20 years old.

The "female workers" were assembled in Jakarta before they were sent to Saudi Arabia, she said.

During her planned visit, she will be accompanied by members of the eight commissions at the House of Representatives, which among others in charge of manpower affairs, officials of the foreign ministry and manpower ministry.

She also reported to the head of state about her planned visit to Malaysia to observe directly the condition of the Indonesian female workers.

She said many Indonesian female workers in Malaysia have been facing difficulties as they are not allowed to perform their five-time prayers or they are asked by their employers to serve pork and even do not get their salaries.

"They are not allowed to do anything, causing them to run from their employers," she said, adding there are 185,000 Indonesian women workers in Malaysia.

On the same occasion, President Soeharto also received Chairman of the Indonesian Veteran's Association Achmad Tahir who reported on the association's plan to attend a conference on ASEAN Veteran in Manila on February 17-20.