Indonesian ran 'online network of 1,800 sex workers'

Indonesian ran 'online network of 1,800 sex workers'
Surabaya, Indonesia: An Indonesian woman accused of running an online prostitution ring has denied profiting from a network of nearly 1,800 sex workers, her lawyer said on Monday.

Yunita was standing trial at Surabaya district court in East Java on multiple charges including human trafficking, punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

According to a copy of the indictment seen by AFP, the 34-year-old, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, arranged for the prostitutes to meet their potential clients via text messages on BlackBerry Messenger.

In one case a prostitute told police that Yunita had instructed her to entertain a male client for a fee of 1.5 million rupiah ($156), one third of which was wired into her bank account, it added.

Yunita had around 30 prostitutes working directly under her, but her "friends who cooperated as her pimps" had a network of nearly 1,800 sex workers in various cities including Surabaya and the resort island of Bali, it said.

Her defence lawyer Erry Meta said the indictment had "fatal errors".

"She had never asked for money from them or profited from their work," he told reporters after Monday's session of the trial, which started last week.

"The prostitutes had readily transferred (the money) to her. She never knew whether or not they had entertained the clients," he added.

"Yunita never told them what to do so those charges were totally untrue."

Yunita covered her face with her hair and declined to speak to reporters.