A move by Indonesian massage parlors to padlock female workers' trousers to prevent prostitution has caused outrage here, with one minister branding it an "insult" to women, reports said Thursday.
Minister Meutia Fardia Hatta Swasono reacted angrily to reports of locks being fitted to the trousers of female staff in a small town in Indonesia, where massage parlors are often used as a front for prostitution.
"It's not the right way to prevent promiscuity. It insults women as if they are the ones in the wrong," Swasono, the minister for women's empowerment, told the Jakarta Post.
The daily said authorities in Batu in East Java had ordered masseuses to wear the padlocks to protect the resort town's reputation.
But the massage parlor owner who first introduced the locks told AFP he did so for the good of his workers.
"You know well how naughty some clients can be," said Frangki Setiawan, owner of the Dogado massage parlor in Batu.
"It is a move taken purely in the interest of the working safety of my staff."
Most of the town's 20 massage parlors have now adopted the practice after local police encouraged them to do so, Batu spokesman Hidayat told AFP.
The Jakarta Post said the capital's tourism authorities were considering introducing the practice to improve the reputation of massage parlors in the city, which has a large but technically illegal sex industry.
No one at the Jakarta Tourism Agency could be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Setiawan said he was fed up with the attention he was getting after his controversial plan hit the headlines this week.
"I am tired of this. I should not be talking anymore after so many comments have been made against this. Even a minister has commented," he said.