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The Hidden Underbelly of Child Exploitation in Bali

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Barrack Obama

Dear reader, how are you doing? I hope you all have a wonderful day and good times. firstly, I would like to make announcement that this time I will not write a blog about DIY beauty. This special blog that I am going to write is about the real stories behind child labour and exploitation in Bali-Indonesia, the place where I grew up. This taught has been bothering my mind for very long time, and finally now I have the chance to write it down what is lives look like for the street kids and I hope public will be more aware that child exploitation is part of social crime (child is mean to learn not to earn).

THE UNTOLD STORIES ABOUT BALI

When you heard about Bali, you probably thinking about beautiful sandy beaches a magnet for sun lovers, luscious green rice terraces, world-class destination for nightlife, from cultural tourism, yoga retreats or just about the art market, Bali has everything. Even Bali used to be called Island of God before Mass tourism going to destroy my lovely Island 😦 slowly. But, this time I am not going to tell you about all those beautiful travel and tourism things (I am not travel bloger :0). My writing today focus on the life of the kids that being force to work as a beggar and become street kids alongside the rising of Bali tourism industry (sad but true).

THE BALI STREET KIDS

Street kids selling bracelet

If you happened to visit Bali, probably you have a chance to meet or you already see them, the kids that beg or selling bracelet for tourist along side the beach or in the street that mostly crowded by visitors like Kuta and Legian. Those miserable looking kids comes from Bali village or outreach place in Bali poorest area. They are sent to the city by their own parents or family to beg for money and make their parents more income. These kids has no proper shelter, food, education or attention. They are often traumatized victims of abuse from various adults. Without our help, they will eventually learn to survive as a ‘street boss’ of younger children or turn to the tourist sex industry at a night club or special massage parlour when they grow up and no longer having cute face to beg. These street kids are among the most disadvantaged individuals in Indonesia.

CHILD EXPLOITATION

“Child labor and poverty are inevitability bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time.”

-Grace Abbott-

They start working from the age of four and are usually “owned” by a boss who gives a fraction of the ‘take” to parents in the village. You probably also could see that those 5yo kids begging and carrying the baby to make it more dramatic and pitiful. The truth are those baby are coming from “rental” baby!! Shocking, Bali not only offer rental scooters but a baby too, to be parts of child labour industry. If a child doesn’t bring back enough earnings, they cannot come “home” and physical violence against them is common. They work long hours on the street corner or on the beach under the sun (sometimes until 2am) selling bracelets and begging. Late at night, they mix with prostitute and foreigner arounds bars and discotheque nearby. They have no skill or schooling and having a painful lives without they realize since the “boss” or their own parents already brain washed them and directed their life as a beggar to beg for a living. Hunger, thirst and dirty clothing are normal for them.

Bali retains its glamourous status as one of the world’s favourite tourist destination, but the unfortunate truth is that thousand of Bali resident live in extreme poverty (local Balinese or some people coming from island nearby). In Indonesia, adults can exploit their children in many ways, including beg on the streets. Most of the kids are good at English and it’s easy for tourist to give them few dollars (which can feed a family for a week here), but when you give money to a child begging or selling on the street someone else gets that money. They give your donation to their “boss” an adult who typically doesn’t work and treat them abusively and for young girls this can develop into working on a sex trade when they grow up.

The mothers themselves comes from an impoverished background; they are illiterate and have no way of earning a living other by keeping watch, as their children beg to the tourist. The parents make children feel guilty if they do not continue to provide income for the family, pressuring them to make more money. The others parents have created a subcultural characterized by getting married around the age of 14, having many babies, and when they are old enough, sending them to the city to work as street kids. It is important to remember, there are many poor people in villages around Bali who would never send their kids to beg.

THE SOLUTION

There is 4.5 million children living on and off on the street. To live in the street is dangerous, especially for children. They are open to pedophiles. They are open to sexual abuse. They are open to physical abuse. Beside the fear from their “boss” there are also local security that just doing their duty to keep Bali clean and safe (from beggar). And sometimes the kids has rounded up by security staff, they are held for several hours, relieved of their begging money, their heads are shaved in a crude manners (boys and girls), and they are made to sleep on the floor after being soaked with water. They are often taken to a location far away at night and dropped off. The children must return by foot through the night in order to beg the next day on their patch. This circle keep repeating again and again. Is that any solution to stop this practice?

BALI STREET KIDS PROJECT

I believe that education is really important. When you improved a kids life through education, they began to know about the new opportunity, new knowledge, and changes their view in a positive way. Street kids in Bali (Kuta especially) have only one advocate for shelter YKPA (Bali Street Kids Project). To know better about YKPA, here is their link https://ykpa.org/

YKPA or Bali Street Kids Project is a shelter, home, orphanage, school, outreach and fun place to reclaim childhood. The latest project from Bali Street Kids are providing free basic education for the street kids in Kuta. There is Bamboo School for street kids to study just build last year. Before, YKPA teach the street kids by the beach.

EVERY SINGLE KIDS HAS TO HAVE A DREAM

Children are the world’s most valuable potential and its only hope for the future. Every single kid has to have a dream. Without a dream they become nothing. What type of careers are we creating when child labour are employed? Just imagined these kids are begging for money but the facts that they never be able to buy and taste a lollipop from the money that they earn. That’s the reason why child employment needs to become child freedom. I am sure that we all agree that every child deserves to be a child. A child that is free to grow, free to play, free to learn, free to eat, free to sleep, free to see daylight, free to laugh, free to cry, and most of all FREE to DREAM.

You could also being part of the bigger person that make a change for these beautiful little kids to have a proper childhood to learn and to play. Whether you like being volunteer to teach them some fun education, being donors and sponsors is your choice. I am so passionate to be involved because I truly believe that every child deserve a happy, free, and beautiful life. You could make a donation online through their website or through my crowdfunding champagne. And with this donation you can be a part of that change, and help them have the opportunity to do their incredible work. I really hope that you’re going to get involved, it would mean so much to me and even more to the children’s lives it effects Here are my crowdfunding link to support Bali Street Kids, a cause that close to my heart https://gogetfunding.com/learn-and-play-for-bali-street-kids/

Thank you so much for your time to stop and read my special blog about Bali Street Kids. If you have any further Ideas or question regarding Bali Street Kids, feel free to drop in a comment below. Thank you :).

Much Love 💛

Ve

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