Indonesia’s New Sex Laws And What It Means For Expats, Tourists In The Country Explained

Indonesia’s new criminal code outlawing sex outside marriage and criminalising same sex relationships has spurred uncertainty among tourists and expatriates coming to this island nation that is majorly dependent on tourism. 

The new laws which will be applicable to citizens and foreigners could also deter foreign travellers from visiting the country which may undermine economic recovery at famous tourist places like Bali that are just recovering from Covid-19 pandemic. 

Indonesia’s New Rules On Sex Outside Marriage 

As per the new rules anyone engaged in sex outside marriage may face imprisonment upto one year or liable to pay fines. Anyone cohabiting as husband and wife outside marriage may face imprisonment upto six months. In both the cases, an official complaint has to be filed by parents, child, or spouse for the police to prosecute people. 

Sex Work Under The New Code

The new code has not specified sex work but ban on extramarital sex would effectively make sex work and prostitution illegal in the country. 

LGBTQ Relationships Under Indonesia’s New Sex Laws 

The new sex laws will effectively criminalise LGBTQ relationships in the country. The Indonesian government does not recognise same-sex marriages and so any sexual relation between two people from the same gender would be considered extramarital. 

Abortion Rules Under The New Code 

The new code will also penalise people for abortions except in medical emergencies and rape cases. 

Applicability Of New Sex Laws In Tourism-Hotspot Bali 

The new criminal code will be applicable to the entire country including Bali, but each province will have the option to enforce its own laws based on the code. 

When The New Laws Will Come Into Effect

For the law to be fully in place, a period of three-year will be required for transition, as the government must draft the implementing regulation. As the Bill has been passed by the Parliament, the next step is for President Joko Widodo to sign off the Bill, which he will do as widely expected. 

Other Contentious Laws In The New Bill

Other laws in the bill would penalise people who insult the President, Vice President and the government. 

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