Lettere dall'Asia - Prostitution in Jakarta, Indonesia (Prostituzione a Giacarta, Indonesia), Steve H. (Jakarta, 24 ottobre 2003)

Lettere dall'Asia

Prostitution in Jakarta, Indonesia (Prostituzione a Giacarta, Indonesia), Steve H. (Jakarta, 24 ottobre 2003)

so tonight i got a chance to practice some of my theories and to see how a young girl becomes a "prostitute."

i am crying so hard right now...

i walked out to the street and saw this girl, about 14, she was talking to two black men from africa.

i have seen her for the past two nights. i have been in the same place for a month and only saw her for the first time two nights ago. the first time i passed her she smiled. i didn't think much about it. i just kept walking.

but last night she was hanging around along time near the place where i use the internet. i watched her talking to a security guard. i thought maybe that was her boyfriend and she had just come to visit him.

then he left and she still was hanging around.

tonight i figured out what has been happening.

or some of it.

i watched her talking with these two africans - around 35-40 years old i'd say. one had his arm on the small of her back. she was laughing and smiling. i was starting to feel scared. i just watched for a while from across the street. discreetly i made a few notes in my tape recorder. i wonder if it was a mere coincidence i decided to buy a tape the other day even though i haven't used the recorder in over two month. and i wonder what made me decide to bring it along with me on this particular night. i wonder if there is something that i don't know about yet, that no one knows about yet, but that many people claim they are experts on.

then one of the men left. the other one took her off to the side and talked to her alone. it became more obvious what was happening.

i walked over, not knowing what i would do. but i wanted to watch.
i have always wanted to watch. i always want to observe, to take notice of things. to try to see what is happening. yet something told me to walk up to them, though i didn't have a clue what i would say.

the words that came out of my mouth were something like this: Do you speak English? he nodded. i said, please don't mess with this girl...she is so young...

i was afraid of his reaction, so i said, i am not trying to judge you, and it is up to you, but please don't mess with her. there are lots of other girls on this street.

(this is so hard for me to write.. *tears*)

(it helps i am talking to two of my best friends... i know they both believe in me... and that means so much to me...- it has been so hard to think for myself for the past 6 years or so. but tonight i felt like i had learned everything i have learned - through many tears and many moments of wanting to give up and even kill myself - for a reason. the reason was to help this girl. to make a difference in her life.)

so i say to the guy, it really hurts me to see this happen. as i spoke i touched my heart. then he kind of nodded and said thank you and we shook hands and i walked away and didn't look back. i knew i couldn't control the situation. i could only influence and do my small part.

i walked a few steps and sat down and just started crying.

i put my head in my hands and sobbed for maybe three minutes. one tuk tuk driver saw the whole thing happen. i think he sensed what i had tried to do. i hoped he admired it but the most important thing was how i felt... i knew i did what my conscience told me to do. i thought i handled it as well as i could.

while i sat there i was in my own world. then opened my eyes and looked up. i saw the tuk tuk driver still watching me. then i felt someone tap me on the shoulder. it was the girl. she came around in front of me, knelt down, smiled in a nurturing way and said, "what's wrong?"

i said something like "i dont want u to have sex with that man."

i said do you want to have sex with him?

i thought of asking her how old she was, but i didnt want to sound like a parent and put her on the defensive.

so instead i said, what's your name. she told me and i shook her hand.

then i asked how old she was. she said, in indonesian, sixteen.

i laughed and poked her stomach alittle and said, that's a lie. your 14. she smiled and looked away guiltily. she said "how did you know?" i smiled and said i can see it in your eyes.

so i talked to her a little, then i got out my computer and she started typing on it. then she looked up and looked at something behind me so i looked around and the black man was just standing there watching about twenty feet away.

i went to talk to him again.

he started asking me a lot of questions. do i know her, do i want to have sex with her, is she a virgin, how long have i been in jakarta, what do i do, do i have a handphone and email address.

he showed me his handphone, a very small, very expensive looking one. i think he wanted to show me he had money as a way of saying he had status, maybe status enough to deserve this girl. i acted like i was impressed with his expensive phone to "stroke his ego" as the saying goes. i didn't want to make him my enemy. in fact, just the opposite.

i answered all his questions as honestly as i could. i was a little afraid but i have found being honest in a case like that, honest with confidence, is the best thing usually at least.

i said do you know how old she is. i said she is 14. i said, "Listen i like sex. i love sex." I told him this so i could connect

with him and we could have something in common. i didnt want to sound like a judgmental, self-righteous preacher. and i didn't want to threaten him - mostly bc i dont believe in threatening people and trying to force them to do things but also because i was afraid of him and the other blacks on the street.

i think he asked me if i wanted to fuck her.

i wanted to use his language and not sound superior to him. so i said, hey, i love to fuck, but this girl is but she is like a little sister to me. i have been watching for the past few days and she is just a kid.

he kept asking if she was a virgin. later i remembered that when i was in south africa they said that there is a common myth around that if u have aids and sleep with a virgin it will cure the aids. this is one reason babies are getting raped.

so anyhow, i said something like, 'how would you feel if you slept with her. i said i know it would feel good for the sex, but how about your heart?' then he got a little defensive and said "how would you feel if you slept with her?" I said, I couldnt do it because I would feel guilty. I said I would feel terrible about myself. I tried to tell him a little about how I work with suicidal teens and see how they just view themselves as sex objects if men just use them for sex.

so i said, it is between u and her. but i am just asking u not to do it. then he goes, "i want to talk to her some more. is it okay?" i said sure. (as if i could really stop him)

so he goes over. all this time she is typing on my laptop.

i walk by them and climb up on this wall post and sit on top where i can look out at the street but also look back to them. he talks to her for maybe ten minutes. she laughs a couple times but mostly is looking at the computer and still typing. i felt encouraged by this...

i thought to myself she is more interested in the computer than sleeping with him. oh yeah - he told me he met her chatting. he also told me then that he never asked her how old she was... i find this a little hard to believe. but maybe the aunt or whoever set it up.

later the aunt came out and told me the girl was 17 - but there was no way in hell she was 17.

in the mean time an indonesian guy around 20-25 came up and started asking me if i wanted to have sex with her. i said no, she is like a little sister to me. then bowed a little and put his hands together in a prayer like way and said, 'oh, sorry.'

so then i walk off to think for a few minutes and he starts flirting with her. he seemed like he was bisexual because he had been kind of flirting with me too, saying something like, do you like boys? there are a lot of bisexuals on the street.

so i go see what she is typing and sit next to her. he sits on the other side of her. then this other girl, probably in her late 20's comes out of the internet cafe.

she was hitting on me but i wasn't the least interested. she introduced the girl as her sister. she also seemed to say it would be fine if i wanted to sleep with ammy but i told her i wasn't interested and she was more like a little sister to me.

i am having trouble remembering now and typing because ihave been up for like 3 or four hours and it is about 6 am now...

but basically what happened next was she said they lived in a village and didn't have a place to sleep. the aunt asked if they could come back to my place. i said the hotel doesnt allow girls in the room. which is true. we also talked about the muslim religion. and she told me she thought it was okay for girls to have sex at 12 or 15. and it happens in the villages and they get married at those ages.

i asked what about sex before marriage and she said it was okay with her. i asked if she was muslim and she said yes but said some muslims think it is okay and some don't.

some other notes before i forget. i had seen her earlier in the evening - ammy i mean - two times. once wheni was going to meet someone around 7 she was walking down the side street where my hotel is alone. i smiled and said hello. she smiled back and said hello. then i saw her again later when i woke up around 1 am. i smiled at her again and she returned the smile. she was outside of a bar, across from another bar where all the blacks from africa hang out. it is called ali's bar.

also - she was typing in the computer and i asked her to type her hobbies, because i saw the kids doing that at the school for homeless kids.

i asked her aunt what her hobbies were and the aunt laughed and said "fucking"

the girl said "no!" then she said, swimming. and she typed swimming perfectly.

later we all decided it was late and we were all sleepy so we decided to get a hotel room where we could all sleep. i said no sex with either the aunt or the girl though and they agreed. we all seemed to feel good about it. as we walked i asked if i could hold the girl's hand.

it is stupid here that guys and girls cant hold hands. i miss holding hands with someone. i get envious when the school girls hold each other's hands. so the aunt said it was okay. to me it just felt nice. comfortable and i think the same for ammy.

i kind of swung her hand a few times like i would for a little girl. it was a very strange situation! -- not knowing if she was thinking of me as a father figure, a big brother or a possible sex partner! but she seemed most happy with me as her new friend.

we walked past all these ppl. i was a little worried about what they were thinking but i smiled and said hello pretty much like i usually do. i figured that i if i didnt feel guilty about what i was doing then i wouldnt act like it. and i felt good cuz i knew what was really happening. no matter what it looked like. i wish i could have known what was going through their minds as the three of us walked along! and i wish i could have explained it...

but no one really looked very judgmental actually even the old muslim men with the little hats on.

the aunt said something to the men who were standing around. i was afraid they were really feeling judgmental, but i didn't want to look at their faces. since she said something to them i felt less afraid and i her asked if they were nice men and she said yes.

by the way, the morning prayers had started a few minutes ealier... this is all so strange, but very true.

the aunt asks me if i can stop and buy some soap then she goes "and maybe a condom." So I go, "No sex. Not with you or her." She says, "I know, but just in case you change your mind." i am thinking - please don't tempt me! xx

before that she had asked me when the last time was that i had sex. i said, u mean with myself or with someone else! i told her it was a couple months ago, which is kind of a lie because we didn't really have full sex or even any orgasms, but she still said, that is a long time. she was trying her best to get me intersted in one of them! she had also put her hand on me a few times when we were sitting down.

i don't like to be thought of as a pathetic divorced man in my forties looking for sex, like so many men are around here. i really don't like it. i never want to be so desperate that i would pay for sex. but i am very very lonely. and long to be touched by someone - but someone who cares about me and who i care about...

even if it isn't love. at least mutual respect.

the aunt had two friends who were obviously "working girls". they were talking loudly and one was making some "obscene" gestures with her body towards the fence, trying to get attention i'd say.

they were all laughing, including ammy. i felt sad to see her around this kind of stuff.

we get this to this hotel which is really tucked away. the manager opens the door. there is just one bed. that isn't what i had in mind. i wanted to sleep!

so i ask if they have a room with two beds. the aunt doesnt like the idea. she says i will sleep on one side, ammy will sleep in the middle and she will sleep on the other side. now this is probably not totally unusual here cuz the houses are so small. but for me this was not a good sleeping arrangement. plus it was hot and i like ac. and there was only a fan. so she said we can go to another hotel which has ac for a little more money.

so anyhow, we agree to go to another hotel room. but then i think "what does ammy really want?" so i try to ask her or have the aunt ask her. but the aunt doesn't really care what ammy wants. ammy looks less and less happy. i point this out and the aunt starts getting defensive and annoyed. basically what happened in the end was the aunt got frustrated by me with all my questions etc. I felt bad for Ammy. She was being left out of the decision making process - which is so typically the case for teenagers.

Also - the aunt told me she had told ammy not to have sex with africans - she said she warned her she could get to the room and find there are four of them etc. and she told her about aids. but she didn't know about this frightening myth about sleeping with virgins being a cure for aids.

and the aunt said that ammy is so difficult to control. i said she needs her freedom. the aunt agreed, but still is trying to hard to control her. i talked to the aunt quite a bit about what i have learned about teenage girls. how they need touch and the father's love and hugs. she seemed to agree with me on everything.

it was after we had talked about things like that for a while that she seemed to start to understand i really didn't want to have sex with ammy. i said i like young women and i told her how i fell in love with sarah over the internet and how she needed to be treated more like an adult. the aunt asked me if i still loved her and i said yes and nearly started to cry.

she asked me a few times why i liked younger females and i tried to explain they smile more, they are more simple, not so over-educated and intellectual. And I tried to explain I am like a child in many ways. I felt understood about 6 out of ten.

i told her that i didnt want sex with someone for one night - i wanted a girlfriend. i wanted to spend a long time with someone. i told her i thought sex and love should go together. she also seemed to agree and seemed to be thinking about what i was saying.

so anyhow, we got to this other street and i asked anny again what she wanted - i said do u want me to come with u and your aunt, do u want to be alone with me, do u want to sleep, do want to have sex with me? what do u want? after we left the first hotel i could see she was unhappy and tried to ask whats the problem with a smile on my face to encourage her it was okay to be honest. but it was clear she was afraid to say what she really wanted and she had to go along with whatever the aunt wanted. they had argued a little in indonesian but i dont know what they said. it was after that that ammy's mood seemed to really change.

she was really happy when we were walking along holding hands earlier, more like a father holding his daughter's hand, but for her it also had a romantic edge. i think this is healthy for a girl like that. but i dont believe sex with them, unless there is an emotional and intellectual bond, and a certain level of equality, is also there, is healthy. and even then i am not sure.

so then when i could see that ammy was afraid to be honest, and that the aunt really didnt give a shit how ammy felt, i asked the aunt what she wanted. i said do u want me to have sex with u or with ammy or just sleep or what? She said "i really don't care. I just want to go home. we will try tomorrow night. i am tired of going here, going there."

So they called a motorcycle taxi and got on and drove off. I looked at Ammy and sort of shrugged my shoulders and she looked back as if to say she would rather have had stayed with me. I imagine she is really getting sick of her aunt and everyone else trying to control her. I suppose when she gets a guy arroused sexually she feels in control and this fun for her. While we were sitting there with her aunt and the other guy, whose head was on her lap she was really giggling a few times. She was hugging this guy and running her fingers through his hair.

Also - while he and i were there talking before the aunt came another black man came by and tried to talk to ammy. the indonesian guy could tell that i wanted him to piss off, as the ozzies say (which reminds me some blacks were arguing with the chinese man who is always around and was trying to make money parking cars- they were really mean to him. he shouted at them as they drove away. they were saying they wouldnt give him money because it wasnt his area. like rp 1,000 would really hurt them. they were in this expensive SUV - a Toyota something or other that everyone rich seems to have here. A big huge gas guzzling thing.

also - when we got up to leave after we had been typing on the computer i only picked up the computer and not the my handbag. ammy remembered it and pointed it out to me.

and when we were typing on the computer i deliberately asked her for some identifying information and saved the file in case i never see her again. maybe someone somewhere will find her and help her.

- i think when she came over and saw me crying she knew why. i think she understood instinctively. i think she knew how unnatural it was to be doing what she was doing. and i think she knew there was something very sad about it, even though mostly she was laughing as if it all was no big deal at all.

- i also remember how quickly she learned when i showed her something on the computer and how confident she was in using it. she quickly took it and put in on her lap and began typing. she had been kneeling in front of it with it sitting on my hand bag, then later she sat down on a ledge, holding it on her knees.

- i asked her to say the alphabet and she did it very well. then i said the alphabet in indonesian and she and her aunt were impressed. the children and teenagers here are the ones who have taught me the pronunciation. one thing i have seen clearly is how kids love to teach adults something. and especially intelligent kids love to both learn and teach, if you don't make learning painful for them.

That is about all i can remember

to summarize, the aunt is a "sex worker" and seems to get online and chat, setting up meetings for herself and now ammy

but the one thing i saw again was that whenever i try to show respect for a child or teenager's feelings, the adult seems to interefere. it is fucking sad.

= = = = = = = =

other notes....

oh and there is another part to the story. me having to go back and get my money... and ammy saying she was afraid i wasnt coming back. but that is for later... i am so sleepy....

now guess what song just came on -roxanne. u dont have to wear that dress tonight. walk the street for money. u dont have to put on the red light. those days are over....i wont share u with another boy. i know my mind is made up so put away ur make up...

Steve H.


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© 2003 Fabio Pulito