09/25/2017, 19.03
INDONESIA
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Young women to sell their virginity online

by Mathias Hariyadi

Islamic wedding between rich men and women in difficulty is promoted. The "nikah siri and virginity on sale" are ways to "help the government reduce poverty," promoter says. Membership requires women to be Muslim and at least 14. Police detained creator. For women rights advocate, the “ultimate goal is to sell sexual service”. Both are “practices of violence and a grave abuse of women’s human rights,” said Justina Rostiawati, head of a Catholic women's group

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A website now allows young Indonesian women to sell their virginity. It offers women the possibility of an nikah siri Islamic marriage without government recognition.

Such a practice is often performed by wealthy men and senior officials who marry a woman with the consent and approval of their "first and official" wife.

After the site was officially launched on Friday, the creator Aris Wahyudi was detained by police and charged with violating the country’s Internet legislation, as well as favouring prostitution and human trafficking.

The website promoter denied all the charges, claiming that his creative services are made available to "help" people in need of each other, and that they merely help them to connect. In his view, the site was "just business".

Through the website, young virgins can "advertise" themselves, happy to "sell" their virginity for money as long as certain requirements are met. Still, for most Indonesians, this “service” is just "online prostitution".

"It's not the same thing," Wahyudi said before his arrest. "A prostitute gets paid what the client and her procurer agree upon. In this case, the deal is between two consenting adults. I'm not involved over prices."

In his view, the "nikah siri and virginity for sale" are designed to help the government reduce poverty by "creating good economic opportunities" linking wealthy people and those in difficulty.

The service is aimed at widows and female students who need to pay for their studies. Women who want to join the service must be Muslim and at least 14.

The National Women's Rights Association (Komnas HAM Perempuan) has slammed this initiative. "Whatever the reason behind the good intentions of reducing poverty and improving incomes, the ultimate goal is to sell sexual service," said Masruchah, one of the association’s officials.

She opposes nikah siri, a practice that violates Law n. 1/Year 1974, which provides for the "registration" of marriages at the Civil Registry Office.

In nikah siri divorce cases, women and their children have no rights and often find themselves in situations of serious economic distress.

Speaking to AsiaNews about this controversy, former member of Komnas Ham Perempuan Justina Rostiawati, said that what Aris Wahyudi created is just a sensation.

"This is an example of how logic is not used. I am stunned if Wahyudi really thinks his service can reduce poverty."

For Rostiawati, now president of the Indonesian Catholic Women's Organisation (WKRI), "nikah siri and virginity for sale" are practices of violence and a grave abuse of women’s human rights.

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