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Suffer the Little Children

Sadly, Indonesia Now Ranks as Leading Destination for Child Sex Tourism

(12/20/2008) Tempo Interactive carries the disturbing report that the sexual abuse of children continues unabated in Bali, with 47 under-aged victim cases reported to authorities for the nine months ending September 2008. Firmansyah Rahim of the Tourism Development Directorate said the majority of cases involve sexual harassment by foreign tourists and occurred in tourism areas of the Island.

He also reported that nation-wide from 1972 to 2007, a total of 13,707 children from 40 villages in six provinces including Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, West Java, Central Java and East Java fell victim to predatory sex practices by adults.

While remaining a strong proponent for the economic benefits of tourism, Frimansyah was saddened to see his industry had also become a loci for undesirable activities, such as prostitution and gambling.

That the problem may be much more significant than the figures reported by Firmansyah was suggested by the coordinator of the National Committee for the Eradication of Children's Sexual and Commercial Exploitation, Achmad Sofian, who said nearly 150,000 Indonesian children are exploited every year. He estimated that 80% of that total are lured into prostitution, mainly in tourist area. Moreover, those figure have doubled from totals reported as recently as 1998.

Third Worst Nation for the Exploitation of Children

Sofian also revealed that Indonesian has earned the dubious distinction of ranking third in the world as a destination for those seeking sex with children. “We come after Brazil and Vietnam," he said.

Speaking at the same forum in Jakarta, the Chief of the Women's and Children's Unit at the Jakarta Police Headquarters, Police Commissioner Murnila, said that 30% of all commercial sex workers are current or past victims of child abuse. She also revealed that her office have found child prostitutes as young as 11 or 12 years working in the illicit sex trade.