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The Night Butterflies

The Night Butterflies


Night butterflies, a popular nick name reference for Indonesian female prostitutes. They are usually operating under the blanket of the nights, street side or organized. Filling the wish of every man fantasies that pay them.

Melati, a 20 years old girls, working this job since she was 15 y.o. She inherit the job from her mother that was a night butterfly. She was always wanted to be a medical doctor, but financial pressure force her to follow her mother path. Her mother that still and active prostitute in Subang – West Java, does not mind with her choice, as long as not in one room and not one client hire them both at for threesome.

The government of Indonesia is trying and working hard to elimiate this prostitution. Dolly lane, in Surabaya that was the biggest brothel in Asia was closed by the government do not just solve the problem. All the kupu-kukpu malam may not be there, but some are still working the same job. Some are moved to Kembang kuning, a cemetery with large tombs that turned as bed as the sky turn dark.

Other ex-member of Dolly lane expanding their millennial advantage. The internet has opening new opportunity to get customer without standing by the street all night.

Bunga, a young 17 y.o that testify she is servicing 3 to 7 ‘guests’ each day. With her getting fixed salary from her pimp 10 million rupiah a month, or some USD 650 conversion. It is much better money that working in her village, 4 times the average wages of workers in the city. The rest of the money went to her pimp though she has 3 clients minimum per day with 600.000 rupiah or USD 45 per short time service of 1 hour-2 hours.

Lukman, a regular customer for these ladies has a good job and income. He prefer to seek for his sex partner from online platform. Twitter, and chatting platform, with details of photo, body weight and height, what service and how long and cost, clearly state. Once both parties agreed on the payment and condition, they then make appointment to a set agreed hotel to have sex and go, clean and quick as he said.

Prostitution is a grey area in this country. The illegal or legal standing has not yet very clear determined. Adultery, the act of pornography and human trafficking are the two cases that the law enforcement pressing charges. An officer say that it may not easy to ‘liberate’ them for being kupu-kupu malam, related to income, skills, and habit that they have been inherited the job from the neighborhood and perhaps their parents, but it is still a challenge for the law enforcement to tackle.