BANDUNG, Indonesia —
But the biggest issue is not money. It's problems at home, including neglect and abuse, says Faisal Cakrabuana, project manager of Yayasan Bahtera, a nonprofit in the West Java capital of Bandung that helps sexually victimized children.
Many girls end up on the street and connect with others facing similar situations. Sometimes they band together and rent a small room or apartment, with one girl emerging as the pimp.
Often she's the one with prior experience. The other girls may pay her in cash, booze and drugs, or simply contribute to the group's rent and utilities, Cakrabuana says. In other cases, no money is collected at all from pimps, some of whom continue to receive support from well-off parents.
"They are just seeking what their family doesn't give them: attention," he says. "They make big families of their own."
Chimoy was an only child living alone with her mom. She says her father was always gone, taking care of his four other wives. Polygamy is not uncommon in Muslim-majority Indonesia.
She recalls with a proud smile how she was always among the top students in her class, with a knack for business and cooking. At one point, she even opened a small shop selling traditional spicy crackers.
In sixth grade, Chimoy was already running with a tough, older crowd. She was drinking and regularly using drugs by ninth grade, when she dropped out of school to manage the prostitution business full time. She got pregnant and had her first daughter at 15. The second baby came a year later.
Chimoy worked at karaoke bars, sometimes also selling herself, and racked up a list of clients. Money began to flow, and so did the drugs: She became hooked on crystal methamphetamine, known here as shabu shabu.