Nurdin Hasan, Banda Aceh – Women's empowerment officials in the staunchly Islamic province of Aceh say they have uncovered a growing practice of women getting together to raffle off a man to sleep with.
Dahlia, the chairwoman of the Aceh Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Agency (BP3A), said on Tuesday that her office first observed the practice a year ago among affluent, young and often married women.
"These young mothers get together in a cafe or a hotel and hold a raffle in which the prize is a sum of money that the winner uses to pay to sleep with a good-looking young man," she said.
"The amount paid can be negotiated. For a single encounter it can range between Rp 5 million and Rp 10 million [$515 to $1,030]. So the women involved are those who can afford to pay such sums."
Dahlia added that the wives of certain public officials and prominent businessmen were known to participate in the raffles "just to get satisfaction from these young men," but declined to name them.
"We're actually very ashamed of this practice happening here in Aceh because it's really bad," she said. She warned that paid sex was also on the rise among teenage girls in Aceh, some of whom she said were selling themselves to older men for millions of rupiah.
She blamed the spread of sexual promiscuity in Aceh, which partially employs Islamic Shariah law, on the lack of strong punishment for extramarital sex.
Those convicted under Shariah bylaws of extramarital sex, Dahlia said, were usually "only caned a few times," and called for changes to the bylaws to allow for offenders to be jailed.
"I really hope that stronger bylaws can be truly enforced. Whoever violates these bylaws must be fully punished under the true terms of Islamic Shariah that we have been calling for," she said.
Dahlia also called on parents to be more strict about monitoring their children's activities away from home, blaming teen sexual promiscuity on poor parenting and negative household influences.
"Education is important, but if there's no attention from the parents, it's very hard to tackle this kind of behavior," she said.
Another factor that she highlighted as having a nefarious influence on impressionable teens was the provision of free wireless Internet at cafes and other hangout spots popular with young people.
"How can we guarantee that they're not accessing forbidden sites? It's these sites that compel them to experiment and have sex. We need to find a solution to this immediately," Dahlia said.