Child Protection and Volunteering; CHILDREN ARE NOT TOURIST ATTRACTIONS.

The issues of child protection extend well beyond paedophilia, although as Marina Diotallevi of UNWTO made clear there is still much to be done to eradicate child sex tourism. Stephen Farrant of the International Tourism Partnership talked about the work they are doing to counter trafficking and through the Youth Career Initiative to train and find work for vulnerable young people in hospitality. Julie Naylor of Thomas Cook described how they are working with families away on holiday and stressed to address the child protection issues which arise among the tourist families. Claire Ellaway of WCE talked about how they tackle the issues which arise around youth expeditions. Watch the WTMWRTD video

The issue of orphanage tourism, raised last year by Michael Horton, came up again this year. There is now plenty of evidence that internal child trafficking is happening in Cambodia and a number of other countries. The willingness of tourists to contribute to the orphanages they love to visit means that setting up orphanages has become a lucrative and unscrupulous business. Tourism is funding the internal trafficking of children.

Daniela Papi of PEPY and PEPY Tours has written in the Huffington Post.

“According to a recent UNICEF report, three out of every four children in Cambodian “orphanages” have one or more living parents. A well-meaning tourism sector is spawning some horrible orphanages, fuelling the separation of children and parents, keeping kids out of school to entertain tourists and aiding corruption by adults who are using these children to profiteer, all in the name of “service.””

Al Jazeera ran an expose on Cambodia’s Orphan Business back in June and named Projects Abroad. You can watch the video at link

This panel discussions about volunteering and child protection this year as part of WTM World Responsible Tourism Day provoked lively engagement from the floor. Both of the sessions were videoed and it is worth finding an hour or two  to watch both of them. Child Protection & Volunteering

In the discussion about volunteering the issue of orphanage tourism came up again, it is surely time, to recognise that  Children are not tourist actions, and to stop this exploitation.

For more on Better Volunteering  and for Better Child Protection just click through

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