The head of the Northern Territory’s AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC) has said she was left scared and surprised after being detained at Bali’s main airport because she was bringing hundreds of condoms into Indonesia.
NTAHC executive director Kim Gates said the incident early last month occurred when she was trying to take 720 condoms to an HIV organisation in Bali.
At Denpasar Airport officials detained her and confiscated the condoms.
“I have actually travelled with condoms before so I was actually quite surprised,” Ms Gates said.
“I was a little bit sort of scared. I didn’t know what was going on.”
She said officials asked her if she had a permit for the condoms and said she had not declared them on her arrivals card.
“Then they advised me that it is actually in the category of pornographic material, which I didn’t think was the case,” Ms Gates said.
Figures suggested about one in four sex workers in Indonesia have HIV, Ms Gates told the ABC.
She said it was important to Australia that condoms were freely available in Bali due to the number of Australian men who go there and have sex with prostitutes.
Although Ms Gates was eventually released, the condoms remained confiscated.
Consul for Information, Social and Cultural Affairs at the Indonesian Consulate in Darwin, Ardian Nugroho, said having the condoms confiscated was probably because officials thought Ms Gates was trying to sell them.
Mr Nugroho said the Consulate was happy to provide letters in these circumstances for people to show to immigration authorities to avoid problems when they arrive in the country.
Source :ABC News/a>
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