Orphanage Tourism: The Need for Protection and Policy
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Orphanage tourism in Cambodia is an important niche tourism form within the wider tourism trends of voluntourism and poverty tourism. It is increasing rapidly internationally, but in some nations more than Others. Cambodia is a particularly popular orphanage tourism destination. Although orphanage tourism is often assumed to be a beneficial phenomenon that gives back to host populations, increasingly the potential child protection issues within the trend have become apparent and focused upon within media and literature. This chapter outlines some of the threats to child protection within Cambodian orphanages encouraged and heightened by orphanage tourism. Orphanage tourism can result in abuse, especially sexual, of children, and issues of corruption and exploitation are prominent. Increasingly, there have been calls for increased protection of children within these spaces, further enforcement of existing policies relating to residential care, and the development of legislation directly relating to tourism within these spaces, spaces that are meant to protect children in need. The chapter, therefore, explores some of the concerns around this issue, highlighting the need for the Cambodian Government to take a lead in sector-wide child protection policies to ensure the protection of vulnerable Cambodian children at orphanages.
KeywordsOrphanages Tourism Volunteer tourism Child protection Abuse Exploitation Cambodia Regulation
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