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I found this question on a forum https://www.livinginindonesiaforum.org/forum/general/laws-visas-money-matters-and-documents/52502-age-of-consent

Wikipedia says 15. However,

Article 82 child protection law says the following:

Every one who deliberately commits violence, or threat of violence, forces, does tricks, tells a series of lies, or persuades a child to do, or let obscene acts be done, is subject to penalty of 15 (fifteen) years at most and 3 (three) years at least and fine of Rp. 300.000.000 (three hundreds millions) at most and Rp. 60.000.000 at least.

https://www2.congreso.gob.pe/sicr/cendocbib/con4_uibd.nsf/E67F49F7CC441622052580330075862B/$FILE/ANNEX-3-Laws-of-child_protection.pdf

I found the law a bit weird.

It prohibits some nonconsensual stuffs like "deliberately commits violence, or threat of violence, forces, does tricks, tells a series of lies", however, later it adds a phrase 'persuade'. Persuading someone is not necessarily nonconsensual. All the words describe nonconsensual activity except 'persuade'.

Also, one interpretation of this article is that all sex with girls under 18 is illegal. However, if that's the case, why not just make it simple and

don't have sex with girls under 18

?

If all obscene acts with a girl under 18 are illegal, why doesn't the law simply say don't do obscene acts with a girl under 18?

If some obscene acts are legal, why does it say "coerce, trick, bla bla bla, persuade" girls to have sex with you if she is under 18?

Why does the law prohibit persuading girls to do obscene acts but does not prohibit the actual doing of the obscene act itself? Kind of weird.

Of course the law says do obscene acts instead of having sex. I am not even sure what obscene acts include.

What am I missing here?

Actually, due to this, is age of consent in Indonesia 18 or 15?

Any actual court cases will be great.

In the forum I sent someone actually asked this:

"The exploitation" and "persuasion" angle is not very clear to me. So sex with a girl above 15 is legal unless you "exploit" or "persuade" her to do so. Can anyone shows actual court cases?

It seems that actual court cases for this sort of thing is very few.

So if the law is to be read literally, it looks like having sex with a girl above 15 is legal unless you "exploit" or "persuade". Which is absurd.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Jun 14, 2021 at 12:47
  • To keep in mind as a foreigner: Child sex offences that are illegal in your home country but legal in a foreign country may be treated as a crime if you ever return back home. For example in Germany it is one of very few crimes that Germans will be sentenced for if it happens abroad.
    – gnasher729
    May 11, 2023 at 19:35

3 Answers 3

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Content Warning: this post mentions rape / non-consensual sex and discusses (in some non-explicit detail) coercion of minors.


As of Tuesday, March 1st, 2016, according to the Indonesian Penal Code (translated version; I cannot read Indonesian), Indonesia's age of consent is 16 years old (18 for homosexual acts). Indonesia also does not have close-in-age exemptions (for example, in Canada, the age of consent is 16 years old, but a 14-year-old can consent to a partner less than 5 years older, and a 12-year-old can consent within 2 years).

I cannot verify this source but according to Wikipedia, which cites this PDF, the age of consent could be raised to 18 years under the Child Protection Act arguing that sexual acts can cause bodily or mental harm and "child" is defined as anyone under 18 years of age. As an example, according to Wikipedia, a court case in 2009 (Sydney Morning Herald) saw this used to convict an Australian man.


There is nothing weird about this law. I left this as a comment, but let me elaborate in an answer. Your misconception is that persuasion is an innocent and ethical thing. The harsh reality is that children are, on average, more ignorant than adults and lack judgement, foresight, and rationality at times, and there are disgusting individuals that will exploit this fact to get children to do things they otherwise wouldn't such as sex, or drugs. Additionally, age comes with a power imbalance - think a teacher using their power over a student to convince or coerce them into having sex with them. That is not strictly violence, nor telling lies, or "forcing" in the strict sense, nor trickery, but a reasonable individual would still consider that to be not real consent.

The fact is that children can only consent if it is entirely of their own accord and judgement and there is no extrinsic pressure forcing or persuading them to. In fact, I argue that adults are subject to this too and persuading or coercing an adult into having sex is also disgusting (but doing this to children is far more abhorrent). But since children are considered by law to lack the judgement to protect themselves against coercion and realize they should reject and get away from their persuader, the law instead protects them.

Persuading someone is not necessarily non-consensual.

It holds a high chance of being non-consensual, and consent is only considered real when it is a) not coerced, and b) the subject is legally capable; that is, not intoxicated, not a minor (by whatever the age of cosnent is), etc.

If all obscene acts with a girl under 18 are illegal, why doesn't the law simply say don't do obscene acts with a girl under 18?

Because sex with people between 16 and 18 is legal (in Indonesia) under the right conditions. Although I must say, since you word it as "obscene acts", then of course they're illegal. Obscene acts are, by definition, morally reprehensible and/or legally incriminating, so illegal things are illegal, is basically what you're saying. Just say "having sex" if you mean "having sex".

Why does the law prohibit persuading girls to do obscene acts but does not prohibit the actual doing of the obscene act itself? Kind of weird.

This makes no sense at all, and hopefully after reading my answer you understand why this makes absolutely no sense.

How in the earth anyone can have sex with someone without persuading? He walks the street and accidentally plug his penis in?

... Rape? There are many ways to have sex with someone without persuading them that I don't think I have to list. Your main mistake is still conflating persuaded / coerced consent as real consent.


In summary, persuasion is not some innocent matter of convincing someone in a friendly manner to have sex. It includes coercion, abusing one's power, exploiting a child's ignorance and limited judgement or foresight, and other reprehensible factors. Consent cannot be given if the individual is too young, impaired, unable to legally give consent, or coerced into it.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Jun 14, 2021 at 12:49
  • 3
    More generally, the word translated as "persuasion" in this context probably has a well defined meaning in Indonesian legalese, and it is quite plausible that the word "persuasion" isn't really the most apt translation to capture a subtle nuance or shade of meaning. I suspect that the English language legal term that would be the best translation is something like "uses undue influence or abuses a confidential relationship" to do so. Such inapt translations of key words in statutes (usually by people who aren't lawyers in both countries) isn't at all uncommon.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 14, 2021 at 17:43
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    I see. The term in Indonesian is "membujuk" which does mean persuade. I am not sure if it's legalese
    – obfuscated
    Jun 16, 2021 at 9:16
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    @obfuscated "membujuk" is also sometimes translated into English as "coax", "entice", "induce", "lure", "cajole", "weedle", "seduce", "trick", "tempt", "overpersuade" and "get to do" (and those following words are sometimes translated into Indonesian as "membujuk"). Looking at the universe of alternative possible translations, merely translating it as "persuade" seems to be missing some connotations that are present in the original.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 16, 2021 at 16:56
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    "since you word it as "obscene acts", then of course they're illegal. Obscene acts are, by definition, morally reprehensible and/or legally incriminating, so illegal things are illegal, is basically what you're saying. Just say "having sex" if you mean "having sex"": this is a truly bizarre thing to say in light of the fact that the term "obscene acts" comes from the statute, not OP, and the question itself asks "why not just make it simple and [say] 'don't have sex with girls under 18'?" It also notes "the law says do obscene acts instead of having sex."
    – phoog
    May 11, 2023 at 1:08
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The site ageofconsent.net in the other answer is not a reliable source. It is completely wrong to say that there is an age of consent of 16.

Indonesia has a criminal code, which is in Dutch, not Indonesian. A new Indonesian-language code has been passed, and will come into force in 2026.

The provisions on the age of consent in the current criminal code are:

Artikel 287.

(1) Hij, die buiten echt vleeschelijke gemeenschap heeft met eene vrouw, van wie hij weet of redelijkerwijs moet vermoeden dat zij den leeftijd van vijftien jaren nog niet heeft bereikt of dat zij, indien van haar leeftijd niet blijkt, nog niet huwbaar is, wordt gestraft met gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste negen jaren.

(2) Vervolging heeft niet plaats dan op klachte, tenzij de vrouw den leeftijd van twaalf jaren nog niet heeft bereikt of een der gevallen van artikel 291 aanwezig is.

That is, anyone who has sex with a person other than their wife, under 15 years of age, can be sentenced up to 9 years in prison, but this requires a complaint from the victim, unless they are under 12 years of age.

Separately, article 288 provides that a man married to a child can be punished if she is not yet sexually mature and suffers injuries as a result.

Article 290 provides:

Met gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste zeven jaren wordt gestraft: hij, die ontuchtige handelingen pleegt met iemand, van wien hij weet of redelijkerwijs moet vermoeden dat hij den leeftijd van vijftien jaren nog niet heeft bereikt of, indien van dien leeftijd niet blijkt, nog niet huwbaar is;

That is if someone commits a lewd act (ontuchtige handelingen) with a child apparently under the age of 15, that is a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Artikel 292.

De meerderjarige, die met een minderjarige van hetzelfde geslacht, wiens minderjarigheid hij kent of redelijkerwijs moet vermoeden, ontucht pleegt, wordt gestraft met gevangenisstraf van ten hoogste vijf jaren

That is where an adult commits an ontucht (immoral act) with a minor of the same sex, they can be sentenced to five years in prison.

Although the definition of minor varies substantially across the colonial codes, being 15 (the age of marriage for women in the civil code), 16, 18 (the age of marriage for men in the civil code) or 21 (article 330 of the civil code). It is now clear that the definition of child, at least in terms of protection from immoral acts, is 18 in Indonesian law, as defined the law of Protection of Children (23/2002).

There is also no question whatsoever that homosexuality is overwhelmingly regarded as immoral within Indonesia.

There are numerous cases where in the absence of a specific age in this article, cases involving participants age 16 have been found guilty. In other cases it has been argued that the law is ambiguous and unconstitutional, but in general it is certain that a case of homosexual activity with someone aged under 18 is likely to be deemed criminal. It may be arguable for those aged 18-21.

There appears to be some conflict between the punishment of 7 years for a lewd act in article 290, and 5 years for a lewd act with someone of the same sex in 292.

Article 82 of the Law on Protection of Children 2002 https://peraturan.bpk.go.id/Home/Details/44473/uu-no-23-tahun-2002 which was modified to split into articles 76E and 82 (to provide a 1/3 sentence uplift in case of involvement by a parent, teacher, guardian, etc.) by law 35 of 2014 provides:

Setiap orang yang dengan sengaja melakukan kekerasan atau ancaman kekerasan, memaksa, melakukan tipu muslihat, serangkaian kebohongan, atau membujuk anak untuk melakukan atau membiarkan dilakukan perbuatan cabul,

Anyone who deliberately uses violence, threat of violence, forces, crafty tricks (listige kunstrepen), a tissue of lies (samenweefsel van verdichtsels), or seduces (verleidt) a child to perform or allow to perform an obscene act, is punished by at least 3, and not more than 15 years in prison.

The new criminal code, at Article 415 provides, that anyone who commits an indecent act (perbuatan cabul) with someone who they know or should suspect to be a child:

Pasal 415 Dipidana dengan pidana penjara paling lama 9 (sembilan) tahun, Setiap Orang yang:

a. melakukan perbuatan cabul dengan seseorang yang diketahui orang tersebut pingsan atau tidak berdaya; atau

b. melakukan perbuatan cabul dengan seseorang yang diketahui atau patut diduga Anak.

Further, the same criminal code clearly defines as rape, sex with anyone under the age of 18.

Pasal 473

(1) Setiap Orang yang dengan Kekerasan atau Ancaman Kekerasan memaksa seseorang bersetubuh dengannya, dipidana karena melakukan perkosaan, dengan pidana penjara paling lama 12 (dua belas) tahun.

(2) Termasuk Tindak Pidana perkosaan dan dipidana sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (1) meliputi perbuatan:

b. persetubuhan dengan Anak;

(3) Dianggap juga melakukan Tindak Pidana perkosaan, jika dalam keadaan sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (1) dan ayat (2) dengan cara:

a. memasukkan alat kelamin ke dalam anus atau mulut orang lain;

b. memasukkan alat kelamin orang lain ke dalam anus atau mulutnya sendiri; atau

c. memasukkan bagian tubuhnya yang bukan alat kelamin atau suatu benda ke dalam alat kelamin atau anus orang lain.

(4) Dalam hal Tindak Pidana sebagaimana dimaksud pada ayat (1), ayal (21 huruf c, ayat (2) huruf d, dan ayat (3) dilakukan terhadap Anak, dipidana dengan pidana penjara paling singkat 3 (tiga) tahun dan paling lama 15 (lima belas) tahun dan pidana denda paling sedikit kategori IV dan paling banyak kategori VII.

'persetebuhan dengan anak' means 'sexual intercourse with a child', where Article 150 defines a child as someone under the age of 18.

The definition of rape, including sex with a child, includes any penetration of the anus or genitals by any object/fingers/penis, as well as inserting genitals into the mouth, anus, or genitals.

Therefore in summary:

pre-2026:

  • sexual intercourse with a girl under 15 is a crime under the criminal code
  • a lewd act with a person under 15 is a crime under the criminal code
  • a lewd act with a minor of the same sex, where 'minor' is not clearly defined, but is likely to be interpreted as 18, is a crime under the criminal code
  • seducing a child, being someone under 18, to commit a lewd act, is a crime under the Protection of Children Act

post-2026

  • oral sex, vaginal penetration, or anal penetration, of any person under 18 is classed as rape
  • a lewd act not falling into the above definition of rape, with a person under 18, is a crime. This repeals Article 82 of the Child Protection Act which required 'seduction', or 'force', etc. This is no longer required, and there is a very clear age of consent for all sexual activity of 18.

It can be seen:

  • the gay and heterosexual age of consent will firmly be 18, from 2026.
  • the current heterosexual age of consent is not less than 15, but there is latitude for 15-17 to deem the party 'seduced' (seems more likely e.g., if there is age difference)
  • the current homosexual age of consent is not clearly defined but can reasonably be deemed to be 18.

Please note that I use the term 'lewd act' or 'obscene act' to refer to any sexual act. This is correct in terms of law. All forms of sexual contact are classed as 'lewd' or 'obscene' acts, in that the clear understanding is that they are immoral acts, except between a husband and wife.

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  • You keep referring to year 2026. So the law saying it's 18 isn't applied yet or what? Why is year 2026 signficant
    – user4951
    Apr 20, 2023 at 13:42
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    there are currently two separate legal instruments which contain criminal sex offences relating to underage sex: 1) the Dutch criminal code of 1915 2) the Indonesian Protection of Children Act of 2002 All these sex offences will be repealed and replaced by the Indonesian criminal code of 2023, which comes into force in 2026. The 2026 criminal code provides a simple 'age of consent' of 18 years. The 1915 criminal code provides an age of consent for heterosexual sex with girls of 15, for same-sex activity of 18, and the PoC Act provides that 'seducing' a child is illegal under 18.
    – thelawnet
    Apr 20, 2023 at 16:52
  • Oh thanks. I read someone go to jail for having sex with 16 years old. The guy don't even know the girl is not 18. That's like a few years ago. Heterosexual sex. I forget the name
    – user4951
    May 9, 2023 at 16:20
  • That address my concern. So the old laws need elements of seduction. In fact, it seems that seduction count as a crime by itself while the actual sex is not. The indonesian word membujuk is normally translated as persuading. a lewd act not falling into the above definition of rape, with a person under 18, is a crime. This repeals Article 82 of the Child Protection Act which required 'seduction', or 'force', etc. This is no longer required, and there is a very clear age of consent for all sexual activity of 18.
    – user4951
    May 9, 2023 at 16:24
  • the word 'membujuk' is originally the Dutch 'verleidt'. The word 'persuade' is not an accurate translation. It should be 'seduce'
    – thelawnet
    May 10, 2023 at 19:43
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From what I study, as far as I know, the law is vague and very inconsistently applied.

I thought about this law and I found something like this

https://www.hukumonline.com/klinik/detail/ulasan/lt50692e475ef42/persetubuhan-anak-dibawah-18-tahun-dengan-orang-dewasa/

I will just google translate it for you

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=https://www.hukumonline.com/klinik/detail/ulasan/lt50692e475ef42/persetubuhan-anak-dibawah-18-tahun-dengan-orang-dewasa/

It basically says

Furthermore, in his judgment, the judge stated that according to the Child Protection Law, the law protects children from all forms of sexual intercourse, whether consensual or persuasion, especially if there is coercion. This means that "on a consensual basis" in sexual intercourse involving children, it cannot be used as an excuse for the perpetrator to avoid legal entanglement.

So the opinion, there, at least, is that no sex with anyone under 18 is legal.

The article refers to case 157/Pid.B/2011/PN Pangkajene however I cannot find such case. Also this is just low court (pengadilan negeri). The lower courts often consistently decide differently than the supreme court, precisely because the judge in lower courts have different understanding on what the law means than the one in supreme court. At least assuming it's innocent misunderstanding at all.

Of course, if consent doesn't matter, then why not just say it in simpler way.

On the other hand, https://www.ageofconsent.net/world/indonesia says that the age of consent is 16. Again no explanation whatsoever what the laws said.

This one says 18 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_age_of_consent

However, Indonesia have no Romeo and Juliet laws. So again it's not clear if the one writing the table is aware of that. So a 17 years old having sex with a 19 years old should make no difference whatsoever.

A lawyer told me that proofing actual lewd act with minor is difficult because it's often done in closed room. A maid can say that a guy come with a minor and even if the minor testify, it would be less than 2 required witness. I wonder if Indonesian law is so blind that it can't figure out the obvious.

Another actual court case is on a girl named Peni Rizki Yani.

She seems to have sex with many guys. Got pregnant. One of the guy, but not the other go to jail. It seems that she or her family chose to pursue that one guy. There is no proof that the child is the defendant's child because she seems to have aborted the baby.

That's the only case that I know of where the sex is "normal" and the girl is above 15 and below 18

Searching for https://www.google.com/search?q=PENI+RIZKI+YANI+mahkamah+agung&oq=pen&aqs=chrome.0.69i59l4j69i57j69i59j69i60l2.3243j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 shows some sources but the server in Indonesia is down.

Another case is this https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2021/04/19/21405601/kronologi-remaja-yang-diperkosa-anak-anggota-dprd-bekasi-juga-dijual?page=all

A guy kidnap and rape and prostitute a 15 years old girl. However, he guy is a son of a legislative member. He offered to "marry" the girl. However, the girl's father refused and the case is ongoing.

It seems that had the girl parents choose to accept compensation, the case would have been dismissed. However, the case is ongoing.

So it seems that willingness to enforce is very low for this sort of crime even when act is obviously not consensual. Another guy that consensually grab breasts will go to jail for a minimum of 3 years.

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  • 2
    Almost none of this is relevant to answering the question, and what little is left, is the same nonsense argument used in the original question.
    – user4657
    Jun 16, 2021 at 10:58
  • The question asks what's the age of consent in Indonesia. The article gives a legal opinion that it's 18. Of course, the real issue is it's not clear and not even wikipedia can figure this out. I saw that article and I thought it could be answer
    – obfuscated
    Jun 16, 2021 at 14:39
  • I'll add court cases. Please don't delete first. I think I'll find some stuffs first
    – obfuscated
    Jun 16, 2021 at 15:12
  • It seems that this whole thing is very inconsistently applied. So if the question is, what's actually prohibited, and that is based on actual court cases, then the answer is that it's very vague we cannot predict how things will go
    – obfuscated
    Jun 29, 2021 at 5:21

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