Indonesia: Tempo

18 Jan 2018

The threat of chemical castration has had no deterrent effect on pedophiles. The recent series of sex crimes against young children should prompt the government to adopt a new strategy to protect children. Those people with a record of sexual crimes against children need to be closely monitored.

This extra step must be taken as these horrible crimes appear to rage on unchecked. A teacher in Tangerang is believed to have sodomized 41 children. He lured them with the enticement of teaching them a magic spell which could attract the opposite sex. In Bandung, four children were persuaded to perform sex acts on adult women that was put on video. And in Blok M, Jakarta, street kids fell victim to sex crimes committed by a foreign national.

These three cases have only emerged now after chemical castration punishment is already mandated for pedophiles. This horrific punishment is set out in Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 1/2016. This regulation, ratified into law last year, was controversial from the outset. Its opponents consider that castration violates human rights and will not actually lead to a decline in the number of pedophilia cases.

That criticism is not misplaced. Data from the Ministry of Social Welfare shows that the number of sexual violence cases against children continues to rise. In 2017, the Ministry handled 2,117 cases, an increase of 161 over the previous year. The National Commission for the Protection of Children (Komnas) also notes that the number of sexual crimes against children remains high. Over the last year, Komnas received 2,737 reports with more than half of these about acts of sexual violence, such as sodomy, pornography, rape, and incest against children.

Indonesia should prioritize ‘social castration’ as the appropriate punishment for people with track records as pedophiles. Naturally, any sentence against someone afflicted with such a sexual perversion must be proven in court and through a medical examination. The Executive Board of the Indonesian Doctors Association supports this method over chemical castration.

Social castration is already being used in the US. In addition to being sentenced to prison, perpetrators are fined and recorded as sex offenders throughout their lives in order to make it easier to keep a track on them. Their parental rights are also taken away and access to children is limited. Their passports include this notation: “This passport holder has been sentenced for committing sex crimes against under-age children and is a perpetrator of sex crimes.”

Those ever involved in cases of pedophilia need to be closely monitored because it is very likely that they will be repeat offenders elsewhere. This sexual deviation apparently seems to be contagious. The pedophile case at Jakarta International School in 2014 shows this tendency. One of the perpetrators admitted he was himself a victim of William James Vahey, a child predator sought by the Bureau of Federal Investigation (FBI).

The child victims of sex crimes also need the best possible protection and treatment. No fewer than 20 of the teacher’s sodomy victims in Tangerang, for instance, are severely traumatized. The local government there ought to move quickly to help them.

To prevent more pedophilia cases, the government needs to encourage the public to protect their children. There is nothing wrong with us copying the example of developed countries in adopting tough rules, such as parents not allowed to leave their children unattended at home, in cars, and public places.

The prevention of sexual crimes against children-while closely monitoring the activities of pedophiles-is far more important than castrating the perpetrators.

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