JAKARTA— Indonesia's health ministry and child protection advocates are calling for chemical castration for convicted pedophiles.
Under current Indonesian law, the maximum prison sentence for a convicted pedophile is 15 years; not long enough, according to a growing chorus of critics.
There have been more than 400 cases of sexual violence against children in just the past four months, according to data from the Indonesian Child Protection Commission.
Deputy Health minister Ali Gufron Mukti told VOA's Indonesian service that chemical castration would be an effective way to keep predators of children from repeating their crimes.
“This chemical castration is not just effective in protecting children," said Ali Gufron Mukti. "Aside from the punishment, this will be a type of therapy for the offender to reduce his uncontrollable desires. With this hormonal injection, the desire to find other victims can be repressed. The impact is quite tremendous.”
He added that South Korea, Turkey and Poland already use the chemical castration option.
Additionally, the chairman of the Indonesian Commission for the Protection of Children, Arist Merdeka Sirait, said any change in the Child Protection Law should include a mandatory 20-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of sex crimes against children.
“Sexual crimes usually occur at home and school," said Arist Merdeka Sirait. "Schools can hold educational campaigns about the importance of the child’s body and his or her privacy, that your private parts can only be touched by you, your parent and your doctor when accompanied by a parent. Then teach the children to have the courage to speak up or even yell to say 'No.'"
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also discussed the need for tougher laws to punish those convicted of sex crimes against children.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Indonesian service.