The arrest of a 48-year-old Australian living in the Kuta area of Bali on an outstanding warrant from Interpol has revived community fears that Bali and Lombok remain preferred haunts for criminal pedophiles. Paul Francis Callahan, 48, has lived in Bali since 2003 where he has established a surfboard manufacturing company, married a local Balinese woman and fathered a daughter. The Byron Bay, New South Wales man is now being held by Balinese police pending extradition proceedings in connection with an open sexual molestation charge involving a 10-year-old boy in Australia in 2002. Press reports say that Callahan fled Australia while still under investigation and on bail for the criminal sexual behavior charge.
Prior to his arrest, Balinese police and Interpol officers reportedly had Callahan under surveillance for 21 days. Local police authorities were quoted by the local press as saying they had no information to suggest Callahan's involvement in any crimes during his stay in Bali.
Sexual Abuse of Children in Indonesia
Meanwhile the Bali Post quotes a workshop on the Elimination of Sexual Exploitation of Children organized in Jakarta by Child Wise Tourism Australia on July 15, 2008, as affirming the fact that Bali and Lombok remain destinations experiencing high levels of sexual abuse of children. The experts discussing the problem in Jakarta also pointed out that the majority of cases of sexual exploitation of children are still committed by local residents or visiting domestic tourists; not by international tourists.
In the workshop opened by the Director General of Destination Development for the Department of Culture and Tourism, Firmansyah Rahim, it was revealed that UNICEF estimates that 30% of Indonesia's commercial sex workers are under the age of 18-years, with some documented cases showing children as young as 10-years old being commercial exploited. The UN estimates that between 40,000-70,000 Indonesian children have fallen prey to sexual predators with the numbers of cases on the increase nation-wide.
Firman told the Jakarta gathering that Indonesia rejects every form of sexual impropriety in the development of its national tourism products.
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