Alit Kertaraharja, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar
Bali badly needs professional police to fight against pedophiles who manage to continue their activities unhindered, operating under an organized international network, former Bali Police chief Comr. Gen. Made Mangku Pastika says.
"We urgently need professional police ... the capture or uncovering of existing networks cannot be handled by amateur police," he said.
Pastika said more workshops or seminars are needed because many police officers who have received training in dealing with pedophiles, have been re-assigned to new tasks or posts.
"Many officers do not know what is meant by pedophilia and its impact on the future of children," Pastika said Sunday at the opening an anti-pedophilia photographic exhibition at the Denpasar Art Center.
The exhibition is organized by the Bali chapter of the Committee Against Sexual Abuse (CASA) in cooperation with Terre des Hommes of the Netherlands.
The exhibition, titled "Protect Children from the Danger of Pedophiles", shows Balinese children and the existing legal process surrounding pedophilic crimes.
"Initially I did not know about pedophilia. However, after a series of meetings with CASA Bali, I was shocked to see what is done by pedophiles can be classified as an extraordinary crime," he said.
"The worrying thing is many Balinese children have fallen victim to such crimes. With as little as Rp 5,000 (55 US cents) the children are willing to be invited to hotels or bungalows."
Pastika further expressed concern over the fact the children's parents were happy to see their children earning money.
"They think foreign tourists are generous. As a Balinese man I am offended to see our children have been included in their operations. The more distressing thing is that we happily enjoy our lives and do nothing at a time when our children have fallen victim to such severe sexual abuse," he said.
Pastika also asked CASA to intensify its work with other institutions to protect children from pedophiles. He suggested CASA establish a separate litigation and advocation division.
His sentiments were shared by CASA Bali's president, L.K Suryani, who said the organization had several times submitted information on pedophile abuses to the police.
Since its establishment in 2002, CASA has uncovered 10 pedophile cases involving expatriates, and has given legal counseling to victims -- especially those who have the courage to report the crime to the authorities, Suryani said.
Of the disclosed cases, however, only eight were brought to trial and light sentences given to the offenders, she said.
Suryani said CASA hoped to raise public awareness of the problem.
"We don't want to be deceived now, after focussing so hard on the tourism industry," she said.