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Australia/Bali: Child sex network hits Bali

Publish Date: 10 Feb 2004

The Australian
By Natalie O'Brien, Investigations editor

AUSTRALIAN pedophile rings have infiltrated the Indonesian island of Bali and are using the pretence of adopting or fostering poverty-stricken children to abuse them.

A shocking new report has revealed that expatriate Australians are also organising sex tours to the island for tourists to abuse children and they have become more pronounced since the 2002 Bali bombings.

Australians are also reportedly involved in the trafficking of Indonesian children for sex to foreign countries, including Australia.

The report – which will be given to Justice Minister Chris Ellison, the Australian Federal Police and Indonesian authorities – also reveals most of the known resident pedophiles in Bali are expats from Australia, Europe and the US.

Prepared for the Australian child sex abuse watchdog Childwise, the report warned of the flourishing child sex trade and the involvement of Australians.

"Australians are becoming notorious for being child sex offenders," said Bernadette McMenamin, the national director of Childwise.

"They are among the worst of the foreign child sex offenders certainly in Bali and other countries."

A former Australian diplomat, William Stuart Brown, who has been living in Bali, was arrested last month for allegedly sexually abusing two Balinese boys.

Brown, who is in custody awaiting trial, has admitted to sexual acts with the boys, aged 15 and 13, but has denied sodomising them.

Childwise estimates thousands of Australians travel to Bali each year to sexually abuse children.

The organisation sent a researcher to Bali last year for six weeks to investigate the situation in the wake of the Bali bombings.

The report details how the expats and tourists "network" and invite others to share in the abuse of children.

The research discovered that pedophiles used a number of approaches to gain access to children, including getting jobs with welfare organisations.

They have also befriended poor families in remote places and offered to adopt or foster their children or give the children jobs. Some offer street children "work (as housemaids or the like), drugs, gifts and sometimes somewhere to live".

Others have reportedly visited villages and asked parents if they could take their children on "excursions, sometimes overnight or for several days". "Pedophiles target vulnerability and destabilised communities," said Ms McMenamin.

The report says Bali has been identified as a new safe haven for pedophiles and there has been a growing number of independent and organised pedophiles travelling and living in Bali for the sole purpose of abusing children.

One local, who was too frightened to be named, had said there had been more awareness in the past 12 months that Bali was considered safe for pedophiles.

"The corollary is an increase in pedophiles," the source said. "Bali is not thought of as a taboo area."

© The Australian