Aceh, at the tip of Sumatra, is the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia to impose Islamic sharia law, which allows flogging for a range of offences including prostitution, gambling, adultery, drinking alcohol, and gay sex.
The punishment was handed down Monday in Langsa city where dozens gathered to watch the pair get lashed, despite bans on crowds over coronavirus fears.
Neither of the women wore disposable face masks, unlike in some other recent whippings.
According to Aji Asmanuddin, head of Langsa’s Islamic sharia agency, the two hijab-wearing suspects were arrested in March along with five sex workers, who could also face a flogging if found guilty of violating Islamic law.
“They were punished for violating sharia by advertising (sex) through the internet,” Asmanuddin said.
Asmanuddin added that officials are trying to crack down on the area’s booming online sex trade, he added.
“This is the first (pimping) case in Langsa although we believe there are many of them out there. We just don’t have the necessary tools to monitor them online.”
Rights groups have often criticized public caning as cruel but the practice continue to draw large crowds in the country.
Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, has called for the end of public floggings. However, the president has little control over Aceh, which was granted a special semi-autonomous status in 2005. Aceh has sought to follow precepts in Islamic law which say women should whip females found guilty of violating sharia.
Earlier, this year, Indonesia introduced a female flogging squad to punish women who violate Islamic law. The eight-member team were pictured punishing an unmarried woman who was caught in a hotel room with a man.
Public whipping with a rattan cane for a number of punishments in Indonesia, such as drinking alcohol, adultery and having same-sex relations.