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Indonesia to clamp down on child porn

The growing demand from abroad has made child porn a $7.3 million industry in the world’s largest Muslim nation
ParentsTogether set up a 'teddy bear sit-in' to demand a stop to hosting child pornography on Amazon web services and to report it to proper authorities, in Washington, DC, on July 29, 2020

ParentsTogether set up a 'teddy bear sit-in' to demand a stop to hosting child pornography on Amazon web services and to report it to proper authorities, in Washington, DC, on July 29, 2020. (Photo: Getty Images via AFP)

Published: January 04, 2023 11:22 AM GMT
Updated: January 05, 2023 06:45 AM GMT

The Indonesian government has decided to step up efforts to combat child pornography, which is proving a growing menace in the world’s largest Muslim nation with more takers from abroad.

Under the new measures, stricter punishments will be awarded to the perpetrators, Nahar, deputy for special protection of children at the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection in Indonesia, said on Jan. 4.

Nahar, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said the ministry will rope in police and the ministry of communication to keep a tab on criminal acts like distributing pornographic content involving children by tracking and blocking websites that sell child porn videos.

We are planning three strategies that include prevention, better handling and institutional strengthening, he said.

The prevention strategy includes disseminating data, conducting awareness campaigns and increasing prevention programs. Quality facilities and infrastructure along with greater human resources and services will be put in place to achieve institutional strengthening, he added.

"This is for the best interests of children, their rights and protection," Nahar observed.

The endless demand for child pornography has made it a highly lucrative business in Indonesia. Most of the demand is from outside the country.

In a recent report, Indonesia’s Financial Transaction Analysis Reporting Center, an independent institution that tracks money laundering, said trade in pornographic and sexual videos involving children reached 114.26 billion rupiahs (US$ 7.3 million) in 2022.

The report further said that the perpetrators of the crime used digital wallets such as Gopay, Ovo and Dana to collect payments from buyers.

Luqman Hakim, a member of parliament, has sought the imposition of sanctions on digital wallet providers who help in selling child pornography videos.

"Digital wallet providers have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that the financial services they provide are not used for criminal acts," he said.

Ai Maryati Solihah, the commissioner of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission, has asked the government of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to take steps to block digital accounts that deal with child pornography transactions.

Sister Maria Yosephina Pahlawati, director of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission in West Flores, hailed the new move by the government.

The challenge in alleviating child pornography is the weak commitment and poor implementation of laws by government and enforcement agencies, the nun from the Congregation of Servants of the Holy Spirit said.

Citing an example, she said: "In Flores, where I am based, there were cases of trafficking in persons which led to sexual slavery. But police only charged the perpetrators with labor law violations."

Because of this, the perpetrators were acquitted of criminal charges related to human trafficking and child protection, she added.

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