Child prostitution rampant in tourist destinations

Child prostitution rampant in tourist destinations

Child-sex tourism has become more rampant in Bali and several areas in Indonesia, with practices involving tourist-related businesses, as well as the families of the exploited children.

A coalition for the Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (ECPAT Indonesia), an affiliate of ECPAT International, revealed that child-sex tourists used the facilities offered by the tourist industry (hotels, transportation, bars and travel agencies) to gain access to children.

Situations include a tourist taking a local child to their room or on an outing, local people taking children to a tourist's room, sexually explicit photos of children in a tourist's room, tourists taking local children to a hotel pool, tourists being very affectionate toward a local child or touching them inappropriately, tourists asking to be taken to a location that is known for child-sex tourism and tourists who are behaving inappropriately in the company of local children.

"Bali and some other major cities have turned into child-sex tourism destinations because there are facilities that support the practices," Irwanto, the president of ECPAT Indonesia, said on Wednesday on the sidelines of the conference "Legal Protection for Victims of Sexual Exploitation against Children in South East Asia" held in Nusa Dua.

The professor mentioned Batam, Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya and Yogyakarta as examples of areas where commercial sexual exploitation of children and child-sex tourism had become a serious problem with various modus operandi.

Among the practices committed for years is the so-called contract marriage, in which Middle Eastern tourists coming to the resort area of Puncak, West Java, enter into an arranged marriage with a local underage girl. The local people have seen large profits all year round from such arrangements.

"In many cases, the 'recruiters' of the underage girls or boys are relatives and friends. The sex industry has also turned girls that were exploited themselves into recruiters. This has made law enforcement even more difficult."

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