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Protecting Kids

Indonesian Tourism Steps Up the War to Combat the Sexual Exploitation of Children.

(8/24/2006) As part of Indonesia's growing commitment to join an ASEAN-wide war against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in tourist destinations, the Department for Culture and Tourism launched a campaign in August 2006 to step-up measures already in place to stop the sexual predation of children as an evil byproduct of international travel.

ASEAN'S RESOLVE

As reported by Ibu Wuryastuti Sunario in the authoritative Indonesia Digest, ASEAN's resolve is growing to fight against CSEC. In 2004, Heads of Governments of the 10 ASEAN nations signed an agreement mentioning ASEAN's resolve to combat all forms of Commercial Sexual Exploitation as well as the Trafficking of Women and Children. This Agreement was followed up at the Davao ASEAN Tourism Ministers' meeting in 2006. The outcome of that gathering saw the ASEAN Ministers resolve to jointly campaign to combat the Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, especially among the tourism networks within ASEAN tourist destinations.

With total tourism arrivals among ASEAN countries nearing 50 million in 2004, of which approximately 10% (5,321,165) landed in Indonesia, tourism is assuming a growing importance in local economies. Unfortunately, as tourism grows in the ASEAN region so do the negative effects that accompany it.

In this connection, ASEAN Secretary General, Mr Ong Keng Yong, stated that ASEAN authorities have become more 'goal-oriented' in combating the problem of trafficking of Women and Children. "There is also greater recognition that they must cooperate to prevent the trafficking of women and children and the movement of known sex offenders across borders. Much of the region is heavily dependent on tourism revenue, which could suffer from the negative association," he said.

To implement this resolve, ASEAN Tourism Ministers appointed ChildWise in Tourism of Australia to assist in the Campaign to Combat Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in the ASEAN region. This campaign is supported by AUSAID.

The Increasing Sexual Exploitation of Children

According to UNICEF data, 30% of female prostitutes in Indonesia are children below 18 years of age, with a number of sex workers reported to as young as 10 years. Some 40.000 – 70.000 Indonesian children are estimated to have become victims of CSEC. Children forced into the sex trade represents a growing problem with numbers increasing in the local sex industry and those children being trafficked overseas.

Child Sexual Exploitation in Bali and Lombok

According to research conducted by UNICEF, Bali and Lombok have become tourism destinations where a high number of crimes in CSEC in Indonesia were found. CSEC occurs primarily in prostitution centers, recreation centers, karaoke bars, massage parlors, and malls. The same study concluded that the majority of predators are locals or domestic visitors.

Laws Against the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Indonesia include Law No. 23 of 2002 providing for sentences of up to 15 years in prison. This law was used to convict Australian Tony Brown who committed suicide in a Karangasem jail one day after receiving in Sentence. [See: Convicted Pedophile William Brown Commits Suicide]

Two Presidential decrees passed in 2002 provided for an action plan to combat the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, appointing the Minister for Public Welfare as the General Chairman and the Minister for the Empowerment of Women as the Executing Chairperson to a special task force.

Cooperating to Stop the Sexual Predation of Children

In addition to being on the lookout for middlemen who lure children into "the trade" and sell them for gains Tourist Stakeholders need to ensure that they are not acting as middlemen in their capacities as guides, a taxi drivers, security personnel, or as the front office personnel of hotels. Under the Indonesian Criminal Code, middlemen are also liable for jail terms.

In order to combat CSEC, Indonesia's tourism stakeholders must take the following actions:

• Each Tourism Stakeholders must be aware of his and her responsibilities within their scope of authority and duties.

• Tourism Stakeholders must report to their management and police authorities when offenses against the Law on the Protection of Women and Children are observed.

• Actively support the campaign to combat CSEC by informing all concerned of their responsibility to join the battle.

• Tourism Stakeholders must rigorously not involve themselves in CSEC offences or in CSEC violators' networks.

Widening the Battle Against CSEC

Other suggestions to turn the tide in the battle against the sexual predation of children, include:

• The placement of Billboards at international airports, popular beach resorts, streets locations popular with international and local visitors, in villages from which children are sourced.

• Posters placed in hotel areas, and information printed on other tourism media such as info sheets, tourist maps, tent cards, magazine ads, and drink coasters.

• Stickers on airline tickets issued by Airlines, Travel Agents, on Tourist Buses and taxis.

• Tourist Associations to form Working Groups to socialize procedures to staff and communities, including filing reports that will lead to the arrest of offenders.

• Mass Media support to the campaign's socialization and dissemination of news on the combat against CSEC in Tourism.

• Regional governments at the provincial, district and city levels to inform those in charge of entertainment and nightlife businesses, massage parlors and beauty parlors in the combat against CSEC.

• Cooperate with the farmers’ network to socialize the campaign to remote rural areas.

• Regions to issue bylaws and regulations to combat and prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children, from source areas to receiving areas.

• Communities and the General Public to watch and prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Remember these Numbers

Please retain the following hotline numbers for use in reporting cases of suspected sexual exploitation of children:

• Jakarta - 112-523400

• Bandung, West Java - (022) 108-4205012

• Yogyakarta - (0274) 108-884444

• Semarang, Central Java - (024)108-6710863, or 6719205

• Surabaya, East Java - (031) 108- 199 – 8290084

• Denpasar, Bali - (0361) 226783 Ext. 127

• Mataram, Lombok - (0370) 108-632213

• Batam, Riau - (0778) 108-457212 (Nagoya)

• Medan, North Sumatra (061) 108-4520971

• Manado, North Sulawesi - (0431) 108-862219, 860460

• Makassar, South Sulawesi - (0411)108-316122, or 319271

• Entikong, West Kalimantan (0561) 108-883126

• Pontianak, West Kalimantan - (0561) 08-737060, or 744466

• Merauke, Papua - (0971) 108-321706

Children are Gifts Granted by God

Culture and Tourism Minister, Jero Wacik recently issued a statement enshrined in Law No. 23 of 2002 underlining the proper role of children in Indonesian society, stating : "Children are Gifts granted and entrusted to us by God Almighty. For, within themselves children already carry the dignity and rights intrinsic to the total human being."

Later, the Minister added, "for this reason, the duty to protect and guide children, is a duty that is that is entrusted to all, including to us who are Stakeholders in developing Indonesia's Tourism. This responsibility is given not only to parents of children, but also to communities, including to the Tourism industry, and the Government, at both national and regional levels."

balidiscovery.com thanks Ibu Wuryastuti Sunario of