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Child sex abuse growing problem in Bali - UNICEF

Written by: Staff
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JAKARTA, Dec 4 (Reuters) Sexual exploitation and trafficking of children are growing problems in the Indonesian resort island of Bali, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said today.

Monitoring the exact extent of the problem is tricky, but authorities had enough information to point to a major problem, Anna-Karin Jatfors, a UNICEF expert on sexual exploitation and trafficking of children in Indonesia, said in a statement.

In Bali's tourist areas, many young sex workers could be found in the streets, clubs and hotels, she said.

''Adolescent children who drop out of school are the most vulnerable,'' Jatfors was quoted as saying in the statement, at the start of a UNICEF-sponsored workshop on child sexual exploitation and trafficking.

''They are trapped by poor education with little or no work opportunities. As such, they are easy prey for traffickers,'' she added.

Jatfors said while sex tourism and paedophilia were real and growing problems involving criminal syndicates operating throughout Asia, they still made up only a small part of the sexual exploitation of Indonesian children.

Several child traffickers and child sex offenders have been prosecuted in Indonesia but eradicating the crime was an uphill battle, she said. Child protection groups say Lombok island and nearby Bali have been the bases for Australian paedophile rings operating in Indonesia.

REUTERS SSC HS1613

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