Working girls in Bali
Working girls in Bali
Encountering the large numbers of working girls in Bali in the various bars and clubs is quite confronting. Some bars you go into are wall to wall with Bali prostitutes reaching out to you with their eyes, giving every Western guy the look.
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Yes it is quite something for the male ego to walk through a bar and feel every woman’s head turn, and it is quite seductive to be the subject of all that want, to be objectified. I guess in a way it is like a beautiful woman walking into a bar, feeling sexually objectified, eyes on every pointy and curvy bit of her body.
See Why Ogling Women May Undermine their Intelligence which talks about research that shows that women who feel sexually objectified make poor decisions. I wonder if that also applies to men when ogled like that?
Certainly I see lots of men making dumb decisions when faced with a bevy of beautiful girls vying for their attention!
It is often the case that these working girls in Bali come from other parts of Indonesia, and were married young via arrangement to inappropriate men, had babies and then escaped as fast as possible to Bali.
Once in Bali they must make money to support their child and parents who are looking after him or her. Or they got divorced, and being solely responsible for their child(ren) must find a way to earn enough money to support their family.
One woman I talked to for some time one night had been raped by a guy in her village, got pregnant and her father made her marry him.
His behaviour only got worse so she ran away, and as wages from a normal job are too low to provide necessary funds to support her kids and herself, she became a Bali prostitute.
She was a beauty, sought after, and generally had to do 15 ‘tricks’ a month to pay her bills, and had an otherwise relaxed lifestyle.
Of course she would rather do some other job, but nothing pays nearly as well, and mostly the decent guys she goes home with outweigh the few unpleasant customers she has to deal with each month.
Others of course are shipped in from Java by pimps who may have found them in villages and given the family some money, and the girls are pretty much bonded labour until they pay off their debt.
It is easy to judge these people, but life in Indonesia is hard for a single woman, especially if she had kids. There is no safety net, no government support available, no enforced requirement for fathers to pay child support, so there are not a lot of options for these girls.
And the usual salary is simply not enough to allow them to live a reasonable life, let along enough to go out to places where they can meet people. Most girls at bars cannot afford to be there.
If they are doing ‘straight’ jobs, they end up sitting in their rooms on their time off, smoking cigarettes. And that is it. No TV, no music, no drinks, nobody to talk to, zero.
From what I have been able to ascertain, what Bali prostitutes charge varies, from 200,000 for really cheapies in the brothels and bars in Sanur, (There is a lot of AIDS in Bali and this is not confined to the cheap girls either) to more than 3,000,000 for the more upmarket and less desperate girls, and on to what I can only guess at for the really top ones, the Russians who are also in Bali.
Passing themselves off as girls of course are the Bali ladyboys who prowl outside of many of the popular nightspots. Often very pretty to look at, they certainly have a surprise in store for the unsuspecting man who takes them home.
Mostly these are trying to make enough money to do the transsexual surgery, so they can be … what? Bali prostitutes?
I talked to a Bali ladyboy recently, who was very pretty to look at, though had not gone the hormone route and told me that he did not have any breasts, so was simply a cross dresser.
He had been doing this for 10 years, and when I asked him about his dream, it was to one day be a woman, a Bali prostitute!! Not a great career goal I told him/her!! Maybe raise his sights a little higher!!
Often men come to Bali and want a Bali girlfriend for a week, and pay quite well, and at the end both parties are happy. The girl has had a good time, the guy has been nice to her, shown her the sights, some fine dining, and maybe bought her some new dresses as well plus given her a wad of cash.
The guy has had his dream holiday in exotic location with an exotic woman. Not so different really from what happens at Western holiday resorts, just clearer.
When faced with making just 1.5 million a month for long hours and possibly split shifts as waitresses (Of which 500k goes to rent, 500k to motorbike rental, leaving 500 more for clothing, cigarettes, food and pleasure), the lure of 700k to 1million for a night of fun with a semi-decent guy is pretty attractive.
Then of course are the older, more professional types that line the bars of nightclubs eying off their marks. Hardened by years of selling themselves for sex there is not much future for them. Pretty much like women who work in low paying factory jobs worldwide.
The reality of meeting girls in bars in Bali that most local girls cannot afford to be in the bar they meet people in, so have to seduce someone into buying them drinks. Many bars have formal arrangements with hostesses where they get a salary to get customers to spend big on drinks.
Often they will do ‘out services’ as well, of which bar gets a commission or she has to to pay 2-300k/hour while on ‘company time’.
Fortunately Australia (and some other countries) now have treaties with Indonesia whereby Aussie men who get a local pregnant have exactly the same legal obligations re child support as they would in Australia so these girls have options, even if they may not know about them. And of course resolving paternity issues is too expensive for a local girl to do.
For a single woman in Indonesia, pregnancy is almost guaranteed to end up in some sort of prostitution due to lack of economic and moral support from the Islam dominated government. That is the only way things can change for women other wise forced into prostitution.
One Muslim single mother of five (with no education about, availability of, or awareness of her rights to contraception) I met ‘knows’ she is headed for eternal damnation because of her job, but has no choice if she is to feed her kids.
And of course there are women who like the lifestyle successful prostitution brings who neither want to change or see the need to.
By Mark O’Brien, 2013
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