(dpa) - In an attempt to stop prostitution at massage parlours, a city administration in Indonesia's East Java province has issued an order obliging masseuses to wear locked chastity belts, local media reports said Thursday.
But the new requirement has sparked controversy with Indonesia's State Minister for Women's Empowerment, Meutia Hatta, who opposed the policy on grounds that it insults women.
East Java's Batu mayoralty administration issued the order obliging masseuses to wear sturdy black pants with a padlock on the left side preventing them from being opened or lowered. The keys are kept by the massager parlor supervisor, according to the detik.com online news portal.
Batu's local security agency warned the massage parlours may lose their permits if they were found to be violating the controversial regulation.
"Massage parlours have been identified with prostitution. That's why we decided to impose a tight regulation," Imam Suryono, head of the Batu's district police service, was quoted as saying.
"We hope that with this policy the massage parlours here will be free from hidden prostitution practices."
While the Jakarta tourism agency was considering a similar regulation, Hatta said she was firmly opposed to extending the policy.
"It is not the right way to prevent promiscuity. It insults women as if they were the ones in the wrong," the Jakarta Post quoted Hatta as saying. "It is not that we oppose the administration's effort to uphold morality, but the problem is in their way of treating masseuses as if they're all committing prostitution."
"In fact, many people go to the parlours purely for health reasons, not for sex," she said.