A Celebrity in Online Prostitution: What Can We Learn from This?

Another case of online prostitution in Indonesia

A bizarre yet not uncommon news has made Indonesian citizens on alert. An Indonesian woman celebrity has been revealed to be involved in illegal online prostitution activity, putting a price tag of Rp80,000,000.- ($5,688 USD) on her service. Many local news talk about little else than this hot issue along with the arrest made by local police. One question comes to mind, though. What can we learn from this?

Indonesia has been very clear about its stance on anything even remotely related to “sex”. The democracy country has been nothing less than aggressive whenever the chance to protest against it arises. Even as I write this article, who knows how many acts of free sex done by adolescent the police manage to catch wind of, despite the fact that there is no actual law which prohibits it. (More on that later)

There are many oddities that are simply not sitting well with me which I wish to address. Those are:

  • Who is violating the law here?
  • Does she need to become a laughing stock?
  • Why is someone as successful as a celebrity still willing to exchange her body for money?

But before we get to any of that, let’s lay down some groundwork.

How did it happen?

A celebrity was caught for being involved in online prostitution.

According to Serambinews.com, police apprehended this celebrity with the initial VA in Surabaya due to her involvement in online prostitution. Alongside her was AV, another celebrity who also shared the same fate. These two were still being examined on Saturday night (5/1/2019) at the East Java Regional Police.

Sources say that this capture is possible due to the public giving out information. It’s about the presence of social media account underlying online prostitution for celebrities. In light of this, the police then succeeded in tracking these two women in the middle of the act at a hotel in Surabaya, along with R (VA’s customer) and their pimp.

Who is violating the law here?

VA was investigated as a witness in an online prostitution sting by East Java Regional Police
©Antara Foto

Are these women (along with other celebrities in the same case) or the customer punishable by law? In simple words, they are not. In fact, the police released them after processing them as witnesses. According to kumparan.com, ES and TN who the police identified as the pimps did violate some laws. The specific acts leading to their charges are as the following:

  • Deliberately and without rights distributing access to electronic information containing immoral content. (Article 27 paragraph (1) Electronic Information and Transaction Law)
  • Deliberately causing immoral acts between two people and making it a habit to accommodate the search between the two. (Article 296 Criminal Law)
  • Becoming a pimp who gains profit by prostituting women. (Article 506 Criminal Law)

There is no law to charge both the women and their customers. However, it is possible to charge a prostitute and the customers if: they commit adultery (and there is a complaint from either one of their spouse) and and/or they distribute pornography.

People’s Reaction

Indonesian citizens everywhere have made jokes and memes circulating this case. More specifically, about the fact that a prostitutes prized herself the amount of Rp80,000,000.-, which to many people are a crazy amount of money. Some of them are imagining what are the things they would have spent the money on with comical manners.

Without a doubt, they only meant it as a joke rather than giving the involved parties a hard time. I am not saying I have something against them. I don’t even consider myself as a buzz-killer who can’t take dark jokes. But, on different perspectives, I think it goes to show how insensitive we are as a nation if these kinds of memes are what pass as jokes nowadays.

So, why did she do it?

No one can say for sure. However, there is always reason behind every action. Generally, let’s talk about what drives women into the world’s oldest profession first. Summarized from mentalhelp.net, here below are the reasons behind women’s willingness to become prostitutes:

  • They wish to earn large sums of money while they are still young.
  • Some women see this as an opportunity to pay for university and further advancement.
  • They plan on leaving the business once they have collected the desirable amount of money.
  • They see themselves as doing men a favor by fulfilling their needs and getting rid of their loneliness when they are on business trips.

This may not come as a shock to you, but if we cram up these reasons into one word, it would be MONEY. Greed has become a fundamental reason why we do everything in the world. However, you may be wondering why a celebrity who we presume to make a lot of money still needs to turn to prostitution.

“The main purpose (of a celebrity becoming sex worker) is to maintain an existence as a popular figure.”

Sigit Rochadi, a sociologist from UNAS (Universitas Nasional) as he told Okenews.com (derived from Okezone.com)

Furthermore, he explained that the life of a public figure is nothing cheap. It takes tremendously amount of money to fulfill a glamorous lifestyle. Being a prostitute can help fasten the process to obtain the needed amount. In other words, she is trying to fulfill the “needs” that she doesn’t need at all to begin with. In retrospect, we will never lack of money to fulfill our basic needs. But if we try to fulfill our lifestyle, I guarantee there isn’t enough money in the world.


All I am saying is, media can be hurtful. We all have done things we were not proud of at least once during our lifetime. Personally, if the same situation had occurred, seeing the news about my sins would have been the last thing I wanted. Let alone to see it become national jokes without any regards to already existing consequences I had to deal with.

Before she is an actress, she was a human being in need of making a living. She may not receive punishment by law, but after this, I find it hard to believe that it won’t hurt her reputation, thus limiting her chance at employment by significant. I may be able to justify people making fun of her because she should have seen it coming. But I wonder, where do we draw the lines? How much longer does any tragedy keep receiving no treatments other than seemingly endless bantering?

What we can do is learn from other people’s mistakes. VA has taught us that the life of a celebrity is not as fun as we think. There’s competition. There are urges to keep yearning for people’s attention. You can get hooked to a certain standards of living and the only way to go from there is up, up, up. Happiness is what’s within, and the only one who can define that happiness is you. No one else. So, what will your choice be?

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