Travelers in Southeast Asia Call for More Action on Child Safe Tourism
Published on Nov 7, 2013
Travelers who visit one of the world’s fastest growing regions for tourism are frequently saddened by the sight of ragged street urchins pestering passersby for money, child vendors and mothers with babies panhandling beside overpasses and on footbridges.
These compassionate travelers want the tourism industry to take more action to protect children from exploitation, according to a new report issued by Project Childhood Prevention Pillar - an Australian aid initiative implemented by World Vision - in partnership with the University of Western Sydney.
Last year, more than 36 million tourists travelled to Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam. Many encountered children in vulnerable situations. The key findings of the groundbreaking report “The Child Safe Traveler”, released on November 6 to coincide with the observance of World Responsible Tourism Day, polled almost 270 travelers from 39 different countries. It found 95% of the visitors surveyed had encountered local children and many interactions with them left the visitors feeling distressed.
“There is a growing awareness of the significant risks to children who are begging or selling things at tourism sites and those visited in institutional care as part of organized tours or ‘voluntourism’ experiences,” said Aarti Kapoor, Program Manager of Project Childhood Prevention Pillar for World Vision.
Three quarters of travelers questioned were aware that children experience abuse or exploitation in connection with travel and tourism. While the majority of tourists said they want to help these at-risk children, the study showed many were confused about what actions they can take and wanted more information.
To find out more about combating this epidemic, take a look at www.childsafetourism.org. A full report called “The Child Safe Traveler” will soon be available on the website.