Don’t turn a blind eye to child trafficking – an important article

By Sallie Grayson. Filed in good and bad practice, volunteering in the news  |  
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Please read this  – this is important.

Harold Goodwin

We are very fortunate that Professor Goodwin – amoungst many of his other roles –  serves as Non Executive Chair of our Advisory Board and Micheal Horton is Chairman and founder of Concert  –  our local partner in Cambodia

Here is Harold’s  article

There is now reliable evidence that the travel and tourism industry is, in most cases unwittingly, contributing to internal child trafficking. Unscrupulous orphanages are ‘recruiting’ or purchasing children in order to fill orphanages and to ‘earn’ money form tourists.

The fact that those in the travel industry, who market or facilitate these opportunities – whether internationally or locally – may be unaware of the trafficking of children which they are encouraging through the provision of tourists who make this activity profitable for the orphan ‘owners’ is not the point.

The travel and tourism industry has to take responsibility for the consequences of its actions.

  1. Anyone in travel and tourism who facilitates visits to orphanages has to take responsibility for ensuring that the orphanages they work with are genuine, theta the children are orphans and that they have not been trafficked.
  2. Accommodation providers and operators, local or international, who facilitate travel to areas where child trafficking is occurring, need to ensure that their passengers and guests are aware of the dangers of encouraging child trafficking. It is not acceptable to turn a blind eye to this or to claim ignorance.
  3. Not all child trafficking for sexual abuse, businesses and individuals in the sector cannot turn a blind eye to this abuse.

Please call to account those who are not taking responsibility for dealing with this abuse – post up cases at www.irresponsibletourism.info

I know of two places, Siem Reap and Bali, where there is well documented evidence that there is a significant problem. There may be others – it there are, take responsibility, post them up and spread the word that this is unacceptable.

BALI, INDONESIA

The BBC broadcast in its Crossing Continents Series: Exposing Bali’s Orphanages

Ed Butler reports on a cycle of abuse in the orphanages of Bali. Some seventy orphanages now populate the island, housing thousands of children, many recruited from poor families, on the promise of a decent diet, education, and healthcare. But in some cases the promises are empty, as unscrupulous owners abuse and exploit the children – using them for free labour over long hours, and forcing them to beg. The most lucrative profits come from well-meaning tourists, who are often convinced by the tough living conditions to give generously – the hope being the money will benefit the children, not the owner. Is such charity actually intensifying the misery of Bali’s most vulnerable children? Listen on line
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Working overseas as a volunteer, voluntourism, continues to grow as more people seek the experience of helping others abroad. People volunteer for lots of different reasons, most of them altruistic. Well organised and with the right safeguards in place volunteering is a good thing. But volunteering is complex – it can have unintended consequences and can be abused.

There is good reason to be concerned about some of the potential negative impacts of volunteering – these two papers from the first edition of Progress in Responsible Tourism address some of those challenges from the perspective of an originating market organiser of volunteering opportunities abroad and from a destination perspective. There is growing concern about both the unintended consequences of volunteering and the abuses which it can facilitate. We need to demand more Responsible Volunteering.

Goodfellow Publishing has made these two journal articles freely available as their contribution to the campaign. Good intentions are not enough. Volunteers and organisers of volunteering need to consider carefully the consequences of their activity and to guard against exploitation by the careless and the unscrupulous alike.

Click here to download Michael Horton’s paper in Progress in Responsible Tourism

You can hear and read his presentation at World Travel Market in November 2011

Don’t turn a blind eye to child trafficking

To learn more about Harold’s work click here

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