Subject: AP: Prostitution Crackdown In East Timor

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

Police Launch Prostitution Crackdown In East Timor

DILI, East Timor, April 11 (AP)--Police in East Timor have launched a crackdown on prostitution, raiding two massage parlors in the past month and arresting four people, an officer said Friday.

Prostitution has become an increasing problem in this predominantly Catholic country, while the foreign population rises and an undermanned police force struggles with rising crime.

Last year, East Timor's Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo reportedly said foreigners were bringing prostitutes and causing the spread of AIDS.

The most recent raid took place on Thursday night, when U.N. and East Timorese police targeted a massage parlor in the capital, Dili, said Alan King, the operations chief for the U.N. police.

They arrested the parlor's two East Timorese owners, and questioned seven Indonesian women.

Two weeks ago, police raided another Dili massage parlor and arrested a Thai and a Singaporean, who appeared in court Friday to face prostitution-related charges, police said.

"If people are engaged in prostitution, they will find themselves repatriated or out of a job," said King.

East Timor gained full independence in May, after a period of transitional rule by the world body following Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation.

The United Nations - which administered the country in the run-up to its independence - still has thousands of foreign workers serving as government advisers, policemen and peacekeeping troops in the world's newest nation.

Most of the prostitutes come from Indonesia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations. The customers are mostly foreigners working in the country.

-Edited by Genevieve I. Soledad


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