Exploitation of children in orphanages in Bali

orphans in Bali

orphans in Bali

We are used to reading in Dickens of the exploitation of children in orphanages, their poor living conditions, forced to work. That was Industrial Revolution England. Travel to modern-day Bali and you will find exactly the same model for orphanages run by equally crooked and unscrupulous owners.

There are 78 registered orphanages in Bali. All are private. Almost all are commercial scams exploiting children for tourist dollars. Such is the profitability of these private orphanages that their numbers have doubled in the last few years.

Many of the children are not orphans. The owners of the orphanages persuade poor families to part with their children to fill their orphanages as to them they are a source of income.

The children do not receive education, are poorly fed, lack proper health care, are poorly housed, live in dirty squalid conditions, are forced into child labour, begging on the streets, street performers, are working on dangerous building sites.

The children are beaten by the owners of the orphanages.

The owners of these private orphanages are becoming rich on the back of the children, driving around in expensive cars, sending their own children to university.

The corrupt police, social workers, judges, politicians, in the pocket of the owners turn a blind eye to the abuses.

Taxi drivers in league with the orphanages deliver gullible tourists to their doorstep.

It is the tourists who are financing this abuse of the orphans. It is their tourist dollars that is financing child exploitation. If they no longer donated money, or at least asked questions, asked to inspect inside, talked to the children, the orphanages would close as there would be no incentive to run them.

Bali orphanages: How tourist cash funds a racket
Exposing Bali’s Orphanages
Bali’s orphanage scam
Children exploited by fake orphanages in Indonesia

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6 Responses to “Exploitation of children in orphanages in Bali”

  1. Susan Scarcella Says:

    I have been working with the Bali Protestant Church orphanages for over 15 years now. There are 7 of these throughout the island. The children are all in good condition, are educated and cared for. The buildings are always being improved. The children are also taught to dance and play instruments, both traditional and modern. I can recommend this system. Many friends have visited and helped and all have been happy with the care at these orphanages.

  2. Rose morgan Says:

    We recently visited ab orphanage in sanur named after Jodie O’shea who was a 28 year old Australian killed in the 2002 Bali bombing. We were impressed with this facility for the homeless Bali children. Was well run, clean and had a good vibe about it. Congratulations to all involved.

  3. Balinka Says:

    It’s realy sad, becouse people fly there and having fun, and then advertisment will call it dreamed vacation…

    It’s even sadder telling this as European. Our civilisation is based on slavery, feudal system, exploitation of children, and other terrible things. And now we go around the globe and jungging others… We are showing their mistakes, not seeing ours

  4. keithpp Says:

    What do you suggest we do, turn a blind eye to child exploitation?

  5. Rodney Says:

    Keithpp. Your story is only partly true and you give no sources for your information. Thats sad. Please investigate first before you make things public.
    For the past 6 years I am working with orphanages all over Bali.
    There are 75 registered orphanages, 71 are private. That leaves 4 owned by the government. In total 3220 children live in those orphanages.
    source: Dinas Sosial Propinsi Bali, Bali dalam Angka 2012.
    Indonesia has complex laws on registering official orphanages and yayasan. Therefore we estimate, based on our experience, that the actual number of orphanages as estimated by Dinas Sosial Propinsi Bali is incomplete.

    You quote 78 orphanages. This was the case in 2008, which is 5 years ago. Your statement that the number of orphanages would have doubled over the last years makes no sense, as you use old sources. Actually between 2008 and 2013 the number decreased.
    Orphans mainly live in the orphanages because of 3 facts:
    – (one of) the parents are deceased (accident or sickness) and the family is not capable to take care about the kid; – parents are divorced, custody goes directly to the father, but the father nor the fathers family cannot take care about the kid; – poverty.
    As a case study we use panti asuhan sidhi astu as example. A total of 86 children live in the orphanage which is run by Franciscan nuns. 17 children are in the orphanage because the parents are deceased or divorced. 69 children are in the orphanage because of economical reasons. We see this commonly in orphanages on Bali. Many orphanages have a large number of ‘economical orphans’, children who still have their parents but their parents are too poor to take care about their children. We can divide this group into two groups: – children originating from Bali; – children originating from other islands.
    Mainly Balinese economical orphans are in the orphanage as a direct effect of the bombings in 2002 and 2005. In 2002 60% (BBC News noted that half of Bali’s population was working in the tourism sector (BBC news 2003, article)) of the Balinese were employed in tourism, or companies that were driven by tourism such as handicraft and building constructing (Hitchcock, King, Parnwell 2008, p 102). 94 % of the kecematan level key respondents to a research done by the United Nations Development Plan and the World Bank observed an average of 40% decline in their incomes. The highest declines were reported in Karangasem (49%), Gianyar (47%), Buleleleng (39.9%) and Denpasar (40,7%). After losing their jobs (29% of the workers on Bali) half of the people returned to their ancestral village (UNDP and World Bank 2003, p 2).
    Hotels and tourism based companies needed to lay off workers or re-employ them part time. Up to 75% of the workers were working on reduced shifts or been made temporarily redundant (UNDP and World Bank 2003, p 2, Gurtner 2004, p 60). The Bali bomb had a direct effect on the salaries of the employees working in the tourist sector as well. Solid data is difficult to obtain in Indonesia. When people were lucky enough to have a job they will only get paid a basic salary. Workers are usually rewarded with extra service fees and bonuses. Hitchcock notes that the salary must have dropped down 40-50% in high season 2003 as compared to a normal pre-crisis salary. 30% of the workers were unemployed, children were increasingly dropping out of school (31%) and orphanages became full (Hitchcock, Putra 2007, p 123 Hitchcock, King, Parnwell 2008, p 112, Made Christiani 2009, UNDP and World Bank 2003, p 2, Gurtner 2004, p 60). As a result of the lack of money residents accessed their savings, sold assets and ancestral lands. Also gambling and cockfighting became more abundant (Gurtner 2004, p 60).
    At one point parents who had no money and enormous debts had no other choice anymore than to bring their children to an orphanage. Many children still live on those orphanages as their parents are still being back enormous loans with extremely high interests.
    The other group are parents mainly from poor and remote islands like Sumba, Flores and Timor who send their children to Bali to at least give their children a chance for a better future. Mostly they spent their last money on a boat ticket for their son or daughter to be send to Bali. Many times this is the last time for many years they see their child again.

    You have a point saying that there are scams, that children are abused and need to work. This happens and it happens a lot. My statement above is clearly not saying that all orphanages on Bali are good and trustworthy. Actually I started caring about orphankids after a bad experience myself.
    Eventhough there are really good orphanages as well. Your statement is to general and you damage the good orphanages with your statement.

  6. rcjean Says:

    Thanks Rodney. Its nice to understand some of the factors involved and that people should not stop trying to help out. What I take from this is do your research and lend a hand where you can.

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