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Indonesia’s new Sex Laws that could affect Tourism

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Indonesia’s new Sex Laws that could affect Tourism

Know about how Indonesia’s new Sex Laws that could affect Tourism


Indonesian tour companies are still working to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic’s terrible effects. Now that having sex outside of marriage is expected to be illegal, the country’s government has passed new restrictions that some worry will drive away tourists once again.

Travelers may be concerned about Indonesia’s new criminal code, which forbids sex before marriage, but experts say they probably won’t need to be too concerned about any of the new regulations.

However, some in the tourism sector are concerned that controversial changes to the penal law from the colonial past may discourage tourists from visiting.

The new policy has been dubbed “totally counterproductive” by Indonesia’s national tourism authority since 6 million foreign visitors to Bali are anticipated to arrive by 2025, pre-pandemic levels.

Others, however, are less worried about any crackdown in Indonesia, a country of 17,000 islands where most people follow a moderate form of Islam.

Also Read: India’s liquor laws

A change for travel agencies

Putu Winastra, chairman of the largest tourism organization in the nation, the Association of The Indonesian Tours And Travel Agencies (ASITA), stated, “From our point of view as players in the tourism industry, this law will be very counterproductive for the tourism industry in Bali – particularly the chapters about sex and marriage.”

The new rules are considered as a response to the recent rise in religious conservatism in Indonesia, a country with a majority of Muslims, where some regions have strict Islamic laws in place. Due to the predominance of Hindus in Bali, the social climate has a tendency to be more liberal, which attracts Western tourists.

The new regulations, according to Indonesian legislators, are an effort to appease “public aspiration” in a multiethnic country. Yasonna Laoly, minister of law and human rights, stated on Tuesday that it was difficult for a multicultural and multiethnic nation to create a criminal code that “accommodates all interests.”

Sex outside of marriage is prohibited by law in Indonesia

A little skepticism about upcoming journeys started to creep in as soon as word spread that the raft of new legislation, which had been simply murmurs for years, were becoming reality.

Users attempted to make sense of the changes and what they meant for foreign visitors on Facebook sites devoted to Indonesian tourism.

Some claimed they would start traveling with their marriage licenses, while others who were not married said they would find another destination if the rules prevented them from sharing a hotel room with their significant other.

Someone in the Bali Travel Community group commented, “You will be bribing your way out.”

Tourists won’t likely be bothered by sex laws

The new legislation has been added to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) travel advice for Indonesia, however the risk level has not increased.

According to DFAT’s website, “Indonesian parliament passed revisions to its criminal code, which include penalties for cohabitation and sex outside of marriage.”

“These changes won’t take effect for three years.

“All local laws and penalties, even those that might seem severe by Australian standards, apply to you. Do your homework on local laws before you go.”

Foreigners shouldn’t worry, according to the director of tourism in Badung, which includes popular tourist destinations Kuta and Nusa Dua.

There won’t be any broad legal action taken against visitors

The principal airport of Bali’s Handy Heryudhitawan said that foreign flights, including those from Australia, were still running smoothly.

The sex prohibition for unmarried couples, according to Simon Butt, professor and director of the centre for Asian and Pacific law at the University of Sydney’s law school, is not anticipated to have an impact on travelers.

Professor Butt cautioned, “Stated that no such complaints are made to Indonesian police.”

“Without a complaint, police cannot begin an adultery or cohabitation investigation.

“Anyone cannot file a complaint.”

And until the new legislation is implemented, adultery but not premarital sex is still prohibited in Indonesia. 

According to Ken Setiawan of the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne, the possibility of tourists being fined was minimized because reports could only be made by family members.

According to Professor Setiawan, there are restrictions on who may submit the report.

“Those restrictions exist. That does lessen the possibility of prosecution for foreigners.

However, those who are charged might spend up to a year in jail or pay a maximum punishment of 10 million rupiahs ($955) if they are found guilty.

Travelers must use caution

If they are charged with a crime under a provision of the new code, travelers to Indonesia for a night out may find themselves subject to a comparable fine.

The new code’s Article 316 stated that anyone who violates public order while intoxicated or endangers the safety of others will be punished with a maximum fine of 10 million Rupiahs.

And anyone who serves more alcohol to someone who is already drunk faces a year in prison.

Additionally, there are regulations that permit fines for “making uproar,” being too noisy in communities at night, or making false alarm calls.

According to the laws governing drug possession, importation, and distribution, whomever is arrested faces a minimum sentence of three years in prison or a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, depending on the kind and quantity of narcotics involved.

A year in prison is the minimum term for having sex in public and at least six months in imprisonment for anyone caught with pornography.

Visitors to Bali’s temples must take care not to insult sacred sites, including sculptures and offerings in public spaces.

If not, they run the possibility of receiving a year in jail.

Numerous of these rules need formal police reports, and without complaints, they may not be effectively enforced.

Contributed by Ankit Raj Sharma

Edited by Imtiaz Ullah

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice by a legal professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult an attorney or law firm to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation. You can also write to us at [email protected] and we will connect you with an attorney/law firm.

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