Will Indonesia’s new sex law affect tourism in Bali?

Indonesia has banned sex outside marriage and live-in by unmarried couples, a move that could have a major impact on tourism in Bali.

India Today Web Desk

New Delhi,Updates: December 9, 2022 12:06 PM IST

There are fears the new criminal code will affect tourism in Bali (Photo: Reuters)

By India Today Web Desk: Indonesia recently passed a new criminal code that includes outlawing sex outside marriage and cohabitation and the new laws apply to both Indonesians and foreigners alike.

The new law provides for a jail term of up to one year for having sex outside marriage. According to the new criminal code, couples who live together without being legally married will also face jail. These, along with other provisions, have caused fear among unmarried foreign couples visiting the Indonesian holiday island of Bali.

So how will the new laws affect Indonesia’s important tourism sector, and Bali in particular?

Although the changes are not expected to come into force for at least the next three years, tourism industry officials believe the new criminal code will deter foreigners from visiting Bali.

read | Indonesia bans premarital sex in new criminal code for insulting president

This means that holidays booked for the next year or two are unlikely to be affected, and travelers should experience Bali as they have in previous years. independent informed of.

Furthermore, the two offenses described above are “complaint offences”, meaning they do not apply until a close family member – a spouse, parent or child – reports the matter to the police.

This makes it unlikely that the new provisions will ever be enforced against an unmarried foreign tourist couple, although it is possible that they could be used against a foreigner with an Indonesian partner if the Indonesian family reports them.

“While Indonesia is predominantly a Muslim faith country, Bali is an exception, where 87 percent of people self-identify as Hindu. We will continue to work with our destination partners to understand more about the situation, but now it [new criminal code] There is a draft and there is no need for existing customers, or anyone considering a holiday to Bali, to be concerned,” a tour operator was quoted as saying by the Independent.

Read this also | Why is Indonesia’s new criminal code so controversial?

The new laws are seen as a response to growing religious conservatism in Muslim-majority Indonesia in recent years, with strict Islamic codes being enforced in parts of the country.

There are also fears that the new law will be used to target gay and lesbian people, who cannot marry under Indonesian law. Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia (except in Aceh province) but opponents of the new code say it criminalises gay and lesbian people from theft.

The new code also includes provisions that make it punishable by prison for even explaining how to obtain contraception. There are exceptions for government family planning activities, but this provision limits women’s freedom of choice.

Other provisions call for a four-year sentence for any woman who gets an abortion and a longer term for those who do it (though there are exceptions for rape victims and medical emergencies).

(With inputs from PTI)