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What Expats and Tourists Need to Know About New Sex Laws in Indonesia

  • Country’s new criminal code applies to locals and foreigners
  • New laws punish extramarital sex, potentially curb dissent
An Indonesian man from the LGBTQ community is caned publicly caned for having sex, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in May 2017. 
An Indonesian man from the LGBTQ community is caned publicly caned for having sex, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in May 2017. Photographer: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images
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Indonesia’s new criminal code outlawing sex outside marriage and potentially curbing free speech will apply to citizens and foreigners in the country, spurring uncertainty among tourists and expatriates.

Critics have decried that the new laws infringe on people’s personal lives and attempts to prevent criticism of the government, a setback for the country’s democracy that could mar its investment climate. The law could also deter foreign travel, which may undermine economic recovery in tourism-reliant places like Bali that are just rebounding since the pandemic.