Indonesia bans cohabitation and sex outside marriage—also for tourists
Indonesian lawmakers have passed a sweeping new criminal code, which also applies to foreign residents and tourists, which bans cohabitation before marriage and penalises sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail.
If you are thinking about going on a romantic getaway to Indonesia with your significant other, you should probably reconsider your choice of destination if you are not married. Indonesia's parliament has approved a new criminal code that bans sex outside marriage with a punishment of up to one year in jail.
Will new laws affect tourists too?
The new code, which will apply to Indonesians and foreigners alike, also prohibits cohabitation between unmarried couples. The code will not apply immediately but takes a maximum of three years to transition from the old code to the new one.
Cause for alarm
The changes to the criminal code have not only alarmed human rights advocates, who warned of their potential to stifle personal freedoms, but also travel industry representatives—who worry about their potential effect on tourism, scaring away tourists from Indonesia’s tropical shores.
The island of Bali, for example, relies heavily on tourist revenue and is still recovering from the pandemic slowdown that kept travellers away.
Taufik Basari, a legislator of the NasDem Party, said if a tourist visiting Bali, for instance, had consensual sex with an Indonesian national, and it was reported to police by the Indonesian’s parent or child, the tourist could be arrested, The Guardian reports.
Visitors "not at risk," says governor
Seeking to reassure visitors and dismissing concerns that revised laws which include articles criminalising sex outside marriage may scare away tourists from its shores, Bali’s governor Wayan Koster has stated that visitors to the island will not be put at risk by this newly ratified criminal code: The new laws, which come into effect in three years, could only be prosecuted if there was a complaint by a parent, spouse or child, the island’s governor said.