Indonesian officials are rounding up transgender women and detaining them in rehabilitation centres, according to a report.
The Jakarta Post reported that the city’s social agency has classified trans women – known as “waria” in Indonesia – as people with “social dysfunctional traits”.
The agency’s head of rehabilitation affairs, Chaidir, told the publication that the agency was regularly conducting raids against transgender women and were sending them to social houses.
“Soon after we have a waria admitted to a social house, we will notify her family or her community to organize her release,” he said.
The detained women at the rehab centres must sign a statement that they would not repeat the “violation” of expressing their gender identity.
“Once or twice is still okay, but if we catch them a third time, they can be sent to jail for committing the same violation over and over,” he said.
Families of the detained women also must give the officials a letter verifying their place of residence before they could be released, according to the report.
If the women was from outside Jakarta, the agency would notify the social agency of the province where she was registered.
The move was intended “to create a deterrent effect, so that [the province] will know that one of their residents has become Jakarta’s social problem,” the official told The Jakarta Post.
Anti-LGBTIQ sentiment in Indonesia has dramatically risen in recent years. Despite homosexuality being legal in most of the Muslim-majority country, police have used strict anti-pornography laws to target the LGBTI community.
Police in Aceh, the one province in the country where homosexuality is illegal, arrested 12 trans people in January, shaving their heads and forcing them into male clothing and perform a series of demeaning exercises.
Indonesian lawmakers are also considering a bill, which reportedly has widespread political support, that would make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison.