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Bali Needs a Child Protection Home

Social Services Department Offers to Build Safe House for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse if Bali Government will Donate the Land.

(3/21/2009) Speaking at a Bali conference to eliminate child sex tourism practices, the Director General of Social Rehabilitation and Social Services of the Indonesian Department of Social Services, Makmur Sanusi, says Bali is in desperate need of a Child Protection Home (CHP) to temporarily house and protect children who are the victims of sexual abuse. That Bali has the unfortunate distinction of being a place where predatory sexual conduct against children is a growing problem underlines the need that both the land and the money to build and run a CHP must be found.

Sanusi told Radar Bali that the Department of Social Services is prepared to build and run a CHP facility in Bali if the local government in Bali will provide a suitable building site. Sanusi said: "Bali the land, the central government for the money. If the central government has to pay for everything, clearly we are unable as land is expensive."

He went on to explain that there are already 7 CHPs operating in Indonesia, including facilities in Jakarta, Mataram (Lombok), Pontianak, Pati, Makassar and Medan. Bali does not have a CHP because it lacks a Center for the Rehabilitation of Children. In the existing cities with a CHP, the Department of Social Services merely allocated rooms from the existing Centers for the Rehabilitation of Children for use as a CHP.

Makmur emphasized the importance of a CHP for treating the victims of child sex tourism and other forms of child sexual abuse. Such facilities are able to restore the mental condition of victimized children through counseling, therapy and job training.

A representative from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Gusti Putu Laksana Guna, used the conference to call on hotels to undertake training for all their hotels to be aware of challenge guests who bring children back to the hotel. Likewise, villa operations must be scrutinized one by one to determine those in which under age children are involved in any capacity.

A Dutch representative from Terres Des Hommes, Frank Van Djik told those attending the conference that nationals of his country found guilty of child sexual abuse can expect to be punished both in the country they commit their crime but also in Holland when they return from aboard.

The Indonesian National Coalition to Eliminate Child Sexual Exploitation (ECPAT), represented by Ahmad Sofian, said the public must come to recognize the difference between human trafficking and Child Sex Tourism. Human trafficking involves the sale of locals abroad, while Child Sex Tourism involves local children who are preyed upon by traveling adults for sex. "They must be differentiated, although both are dangerous," explained Sofian.