Torture in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                        

Republic of Indonesia

Indonesia, a vast polyglot nation, has made significant economic advances under the administration of President YUDHOYONO, but faces challenges stemming from the global financial crisis and world economic downturn.

Indonesia still struggles with poverty and unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment, and unequal resource distribution among regions.

Economic difficulties in early 2008 centered on high global food and oil prices and their impact on Indonesia's poor and on the budget.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Indonesia

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Indonesia.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Sexual abuse common among street children

Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 12 June 2007

[accessed 30 May 2011]

Amran, Brebes' friend, started living on the streets after his parents divorced and his father remarried without telling him. By the age of eight, Amran had already experienced the hard life of a street child, working as a shoe polisher at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta, where he was also sexually abused.

"When I was a shoe polisher one of my consumers sexually abused me and gave me Rp 3,000 (US33 cents)," said Amran, 19, who works odd jobs to make a living.He said at the time he did not understand what had happened to him. "I spent the money to play a pinball machine game," he said. "But as time passed, I learned that the person had treated me badly."

He said most of his friends living on the streets had been sexually abused by adults. "In fact, some of them make a living out of it," he said.  – SCCP


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - INDONESIA [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2010

[accessed 30 May 2011]

As unskilled women and girls migrate from Indonesia’s rural areas to seek a better life in the big cities, they face a labour market that offers very limited opportunities for women. In many cases they are too embarrassed to return home after ‘failing’ to succeed in the big cities and towns, and resort to prostitution to survive. Many girls are also persuaded to become prostitutes after seeing their friends earn quick money and become ‘financially independent’.

In some parts of Indonesia, such as East Java, family circles of prostitution exist in various forms, including cases where the child victims come from families in which their grandmothers, mothers, aunts or elder sisters work or have worked in the sex industry. In addition to such familiarity with the world of prostitution, the parents’ economic dependence on the children perpetuates their exploitation. Communities lack awareness of child abuse issues and are often reluctant to intrude into the ‘privacy’ of family life, since children are seen as subordinate wards of parents, teachers and older siblings. Such public perceptions lead to cases of sexual exploitation of children being unreported and unprosecuted.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 13 February 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - The Indonesian government reports that 6 to 12 million Indonesian children are involved in the worst forms of child labor, identified as prostitution; child trafficking; etc.

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - The Government of Indonesia participates in a USDOL supported ILO-IPEC Timebound Program to progressively eliminate the worst forms of child labor.  The program is being implemented from 2004-2009 and focuses on five National Action priority sectors: offshore and deep-sea fishing, child prostitution, mining, footwear industry and drug trafficking.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 13 February 2011]

CHILDREN - Commercial sexual exploitation of children continued to be a serious problem. The number of child prostitutes in the country was unclear; however, a 2004 ILO assessment estimated there were approximately 21 thousand child prostitutes on the island of Java. In 2003 a team of NGO and government health officials visited a prostitution complex in Riau Province and estimated that 30 to 40 percent of the 365 female sex workers there were under 18 years of age. Many teenage girls were forced into or found themselves caught in debt bondage. At times law enforcement officials treated child sex workers as criminals rather than victims. Women's rights activists and religious groups accused government officials, particularly police and soldiers, of operating or protecting brothels that employed underage prostitutes. Corrupt civil servants issued identity cards to underage girls, facilitating entry into the sex trade. According to official East Java government statistics, there were approximately 4 thousand child prostitutes in East Java, 30 percent of the total number of recorded prostitutes; there were approximately 3 thousand child prostitutes in Central Java; and 194 in the city of Yogyakarta. There also were reports of sexual exploitation of boys. NGOs reported long-active pedophile rings operating in Bali, and authorities arrested and tried at least one man, a French national, for pedophilia there.

During the year there were cases in which employment brokers paid parents advances of future salaries to be earned by their daughters. The child was required to repay the employment brokers. Researchers described a "culture of prostitution" in some parts of the country, where parents encouraged their daughters to work as big-city prostitutes and send the proceeds home.

NGO observers said many girls were forced into prostitution after failed marriages they had entered into when they were 10 to 14 years of age. There was no obvious violation of the law, because their paperwork identified them as adults due to the fact they were once married

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 January 2004

[accessed 13 February 2011]

[81] The Committee welcomes the launching of the National Plan of Action for the Elimination of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in 2002.  However, the Committee is concerned that existing legislation does not provide effective protection (e.g. the age limit for sexual consent of 12 years is too low) and that child victims of sexual exploitation often do not receive adequate protection and/or recovery assistance.  The Committee is also concerned about the lack of information about how the National Plan of Action will be carried out at the provincial and district levels.

[82] The Committee wishes to reiterate its opinion that child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation can never be held responsible or guilty of such acts.

Demand rises for sex with under-aged

Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 13 December 2008

[accessed 30 May 2011]

The number of child sex workers in Indonesia has more than doubled in the past decade, with the majority operating around resorts amid the country's booming tourism industry, an NGO has warned.

The NGO said its 2007 survey showed the number of child sex workers in Indonesia had doubled to more than 150,000 compared to around 70,000 in 1998, a figure concluded in a UNICEF report.   The ECPAT survey found that 80 percent of the children were employed for sex at recreational sites across the country, while the rest were stationed at mining sites, military barracks and rest areas for drivers.

Sofyan said most child sex workers were girls aged between 14 and 15, originating from West Java areas like Indramayu and Sukabumi.   Contrary to popular belief, not all were roped into the sex industry via human trafficking but instead sought out work themselves, he said.   Eradicating this illegal practice has proven difficult as many people consider having sex with a minor perfectly legitimate, as long as the child consented to the act.

Indonesia Seeks Dignified Relationship With Korea

Kang Shin-who, Korea Herald, 2007.09.14

[accessed 13 Aug  2013]

An Indonesian government leader has asked Koreans to show respect to her nation, referring to foreigners reportedly using child prostitutes in Bali.

``We hope to have a dignified relationship with Korea and want Korean people to respect Indonesia. There are many foreigners who look for child prostitution in Bali, although having sex with children is subject to severe punishment,’’ the minister said in an interview with The Korea Times Wednesday.  The minister’s remarks indicate that the Indonesian government wants to prevent sex trade in the country by asking other countries to take a more active role, instead of his country metering out severe punishment to sex tourists.  Child sex traders or abusers can be sentenced to a maximum 15 years in prison in Indonesia, but the country is rather lenient on foreigners as it is concerned that the strict control of foreigners would damage the tourism business.

Groups protests violence in class

Ridwan Max Sijabat, Jakarta Post, Jakarta, January 31, 2007

[accessed 30 May 2011]

HEALTH AND EDUCATION - GROUPS PROTESTS VIOLENCE IN CLASS - The KPAI also told the hearing that it was concerned by the booming child prostitution trade in Indonesia, blaming it on increasing poverty levels and consumption-driven lifestyles in urban areas.  KPAI data show that between 40,000 children and 70,000 children in 23 of 26 monitored provinces have been employed in prostitution.

Child trafficking on rise in Indonesia

Australian Associated Press AAP, Dec 4 2006

[accessed 12 July 2013]

"We only have to walk through Kuta or any other tourist area at night to see for ourselves the many young girls working in the street, or in many of the clubs, karaoke bars or even hotels operating in the area," she said.  "Adolescent children who drop out of school are the most vulnerable.  "They are trapped by poor education, with little or no work opportunities. As such they are easy prey for traffickers."

Ministry of Women Empowerment child protection assistant deputy Soepalarto Soedibjo said there had been a "significant increase" of sexual exploitation of children, with no significant improvement despite recent efforts to fight the problem.

Makassar Has Sixth Highest Amount of Child Prostitution Cases

Irmawati, Tempo Interactive, Makassar, 16 October, 2006

[accessed 13 Aug  2013]

The National Commission for Child Protection has said that the City of Makassar, South Sulawesi, has the sixth highest amount of child prostitution cases out of 12 provinces.

According to him, the sexual exploitation of children under 18 years of age in Indonesia now reaches between 75,000 and 90,000.  Rusin Tompo from LISAN said that in one area in Makassar, in Panampu Subdistrict with a population of 13,622, a total of 766 children aged between five and 12 have had to stop attending school due to financial factors.

Terrible cost of trading in children

Mark Forbes, The Age, October 7, 2006

[accessed 30 May 2011]

Smith, 48, was arrested in August. But there is growing evidence that across Indonesia widespread child abuse continues. In Jakarta, one phone call can summon a broker who presents a photographic menu of youngsters for delivery to homes or hotels for less than $50. On the holiday islands of Bali and Lombok, The Age was offered boys and girls as young as 13 by pimps working the streets of seaside resorts, and children reeled off the names of several Australian "regulars".

Human trafficking ring busted

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (German Press Agency) DPA, Jakarta, 17 August, 2006 -- DPA

[accessed 13 February 2011]

The victims, aged 14 to 17, were promised jobs in Jakarta as domestic workers, but were then flown to West Kalimantan province on the Indonesian side of Borneo and taken across the border into Malaysia, sometimes using false travel documents.

The Status and Trends of HIV/AIDS/STI epidemics in Asia and the Pacific [PDF]

Monitoring the AIDS Pandemic (MAP) Network, Melbourne, October 4, 2001

[accessed 19 September 2011]

FIGURE 15 - Since the economic crisis developed in Indonesia in 1998, the number of children living on the streets of large cities has increased.  Many of these children have sex, and for some of them sex is their source of income. Recent studies among street children in Jakarta and Central Java found that between a quarter and a third of the children were sexually active and only six percent had ever used a condom. Not surprisingly, many were infected with STIs: in Jakarta, one child in seven had a history of STI and one in 20 were injecting drugs.

Economic hardship forces children into prostitution

ID Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Surabaya, June 17, 2005

[accessed 30 May 2011]

"I didn't have money and I had dropped out of school. I finally sold what I had, my body," she said. Most of her earnings were used to buy drugs, and the remainder to fulfill her everyday needs.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – INDONESIA – According to NGOs, actions against CSEC are not regarded as a priority by the Indonesian government or international donor agencies.  In 2000, with the support of AusAID, an outreach program for prostituted children was carried out in Medan, Bandung, Bali, Jakarta, Batam, Surabaya, and Jogjakarta. Activities were focused on prevention of HIV/AIDS and the development of a model drop in center. There are no programs for the recovery and reintegration of victims; however NGOs occasionally take care of child victims.

Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-ninth session, 6 January 2003$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 30 May 2011]

[46] In September 2002, Parliament passed a bill on child protection which will oblige the State to provide special protection for child victims of neglect, trafficking, exploitation or abuse and torture, and for children in conflict situations.  The bill also provides for stiff penalties for those involved in the sale and trafficking of children.  The Law on Child Protection criminalizes any individual, organization or body that engages in child prostitution or child pornography.  The Law also states that the Government and the community are responsible for providing special protection for children whether they are victims or perpetrators.

Report On Laws And Legal Procedures Concerning The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of Children In Indonesia

ECPAT International in collaboration with Antarini Arna, Director, Yayasan Pemantau Hak Anak, and Mattias Bryneson, Legal Consultant, December 2004

[accessed 12 July 2013]

This paper reports the findings from research on the domestic legislation and legal procedures in Indonesia as they relate to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. It analyses these laws and procedures against the relevant regional and international standards and recommends legislative and procedural reforms to better protect children from commercial sexual exploitation.

The Flesh Trade

[access information unavailable]

The International Labor Organization (ILO) says thousands of children in Java have been forced into prostitution by their parents and others. The ILO said its researchers found more than 21,000 prostituted children, some as young as 15, during a study of Jakarta and all Javanese provinces except Banten.  "Poverty, lack of educational facilities, traditional views on economic values of a girl and loose social control are identified as the main characteristics of the sending areas," the organization said in a statement.

Fighting sexual exploitation and trafficking in Indonesia

UNICEF, At a Glance: Indonesia, 15 December 2004

[accessed 13 February 2011]

Yani was 15 when her boyfriend lured her away from home with false promises of a lucrative job and a chance to continue her education.  "My pimp stopped giving me money and just supplied me with drugs," says Dewi. "I got worse and worse. I lived from hotel room to hotel room, and worked wherever a client wanted me, here in Surakarta, Yogyakarta or Jakarta."  Intimidated, ashamed and deeply disturbed, Yani and Dewi became two of the million of young girls and boys that go into the multi-billion-dollar sex trade across the globe.

A Jakarta NGO Is Building Alternatives To Prostitution

Ben Harkness, Inside Indonesia 79: Jul - Sep 2004

[accessed 19 September 2011]

YKB is now working to tackle poverty and low levels of education in Bongas in an attempt to undermine the processes by which the young women in the area become involved in prostitution. The program’s main aims are to increase parents’ awareness of the importance of education for their children and also to motivate children to stay in school.

Indonesia's Shameful Export blog!, Jakarta, 09 June 2004

[accessed 13 February 2011]

Poverty, ignorance and unenforced laws fuel an industry that has sold 70,000 children into prostitution overseas.  It is not something any government likes to make public, but the figures say it all:  Indonesia is one of the world's largest exporters of sex workers, mainly children.

Male brothel users new targets in Asian anti-trafficking drive

Agence France-Presse AFP, 24-JUN-2004

[accessed 30 May 2011]

Many men who use Asian brothels believe that it is simply a commercial transaction with benefits on both sides, activists say. "Some men think they are doing a good deed by paying for sex in Batam, that the girls will starve in their villages," said Saleemah Ismail, manager of the Batam project run by the Singapore chapter of the United Nations (news-web sites) Development Fund for Women.

But up to 40% of the estimated 19,000 sex workers in Batam are under 18, Saleemah told the Singapore Straits Times, announcing that the poster campaign would begin on July 1.

Like girls in brothels around the region, many are tricked with fake job offers into leaving their villages or home countries, but find themselves sold as commercial sex workers and unable to escape.

Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation, and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Mohammad Farid for UNICEF-Indonesia, Child Workers in Asia CWA Newsletter, Vol. 16 No. 1 (Jan.-April 2000)

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 30 May 2011]

Given the social stigma, children are generally anxious about their involvement being discovered, particularly by people close to them. They operate clandestinely in small groups, using secret codes, which are changed immediately when publicly disclosed. As was reported recently, of 100 young females interviewed, aged 12-19 years who were involved in such a covert prostitution, 82 claimed that their parents were not aware of their secret activity.

Flesh trade of Sumatra

Ahmad Sofian, Inside Indonesia, Edition-59

[accessed 4 Oct 2012]

The industry is driven by growing market demand, especially for girls aged 14-18 years, who are considered free of disease.  The high price a virgin fetches makes the search for them a highly profitable business.

Violation of Children’s and Women’s Rights: The Case of Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation [PDF]

Ms. Mehr Khan, UNICEF Regional Director, East Asia and Pacific Region, 12/6/2003 -- Paper Presentation

[accessed 16 April 2011]

[page 40] THE SCOPE AND NATURE OF THE PROBLEM IN THE EAP REGION - As with trafficking, it is difficult to estimate the number of children and women being exploited in the commercial sex industry. The highest concentration of child sex workers is believed to be in the Greater Mekong sub-region, which consists of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and the Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of China. In some of these countries, children are reported to account for around one-third of all sex workers. A survey in Cambodia found that 30 – 35 per cent of sex workers were between 12-17 years of age.v Yet the problem also exists beyond the sub-region. In Indonesia, 60 per cent of registered prostitutes were found to be between the ages of 15 to 20 years of age. These figures are mere indications of the extent of the problem in the region.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution - Indonesia",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Indonesia]  [other countries]