Child Safe Tourism

Our actions impact the lives of children working and living in tourist areas.

No matter where we are in the world, we each have a responsibility towards children; especially in keeping them safe from abuse. Children in tourist areas are especially vulnerable to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Sometimes without realising it, we may do things that inadvertently keep children exposed to a cycle of abuse. So it’s important we know how to take simple actions to minimise harm to children and help create a Child Safe Tourism environment. The Child Safe Tourism campaign aims to arm us with knowledge and information on the simple things each of us can do in order to be a child safe traveller.



Find out how you can make 
a difference. 

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Latest news

October 13, 2014

Keeping children safe online

Guest Post – Tim Gerrish, International Partnerships Manager, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command of the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA-CEOP)

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June 4, 2014

Limited understanding of child sexual abuse in South East Asia puts children at risk

Many adults and children in Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam have a limited understanding of what constitutes child sexual abuse and how to prevent it, revealed a new report, Sex, Abuse and Childhood: A study about knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to child sexual abuse, including in travel and tourism, in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.

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May 16, 2014

UNWTO and World Vision join forces to fight child exploitation in tourism

As tourism continues to grow globally, particularly in South East Asia, it is becoming increasingly urgent to consider its impact on local communities, particular where this relates to child exploitation. This is why UNWTO and World Vision East Asia Regional Office have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, forging a partnership aimed at fighting the exploitation of children in the tourism sector (17 April 2014).

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February 14, 2014

Journey to Child Safe Tourism

You know the situation well. You arrive in a new place, whether a remote village or a popular urban tourist site, and suddenly you notice the children. They confidently approach you, sometimes in groups, selling chewing gum or fruit or simply holding out a plastic beaker for your coins, begging. It is confronting to see both their tenacity and their poverty in the same moment. It is so difficult to know how to respond to these situations, particularly when you are unprepared. I have been there too, many times.

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January 8, 2014

Working to protect children with disabilities

An estimated 8 to 10 million children live in residential or institutional care around the world. And those born with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to being locked away and forgotten – many from birth. In some countries, doctors encourage parents to give up their child with a disability and in others, a child born with a disability is looked upon as a curse or punishment to the family. But in many cases, families would keep their children at home if there was adequate support. Up to 95% of children in residential care reportedly have at least one living parent or extended family. It is disability, social exclusion and poverty that push most children into these facilities.

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December 5, 2013

International Volunteer Day: Does voluntourism help or harm children?

Somehow I’ve become the bearer of bad news. Due to my TEDx talk on the problems with volunteer travel and much of my prior writing on the subject, I now frequently get asked to write about issues in the voluntourism sector. I’d like to start with a disclaimer: I don’t think volunteering is bad. I don’t think “voluntourists” are bad. And I don’t think volunteer travel companies are bad. In fact, I’ve been and done all of the above: taken volunteer trips around the world, founded a volunteer travel company which we later transitioned to a development education company, and continue to support the employment of interns on a volunteer bases in some of the projects I work with. 

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November 6, 2013

Tourists to South East Asia call for more action on child safe tourism

Travellers to South East Asia 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.

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April 11, 2013

Intrepid Travel’s commitment to child protection in tourism

Helping to protect children from exploitation has been a core commitment of global adventure travel company, Intrepid Travel, since they began operating trips in South East Asia in 1989. They are operating in more than 120 countries across the world and are taking almost 100,000 travellers on trips every year. Child Safe Tourism (CST) spoke to Intrepid's Responsible Travel Manager, Jane Crouch (JC), to find out what drives them to make child protection a key priority in the way they operate.

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March 11, 2013

Free Child Helpline in Cambodia expands to 24 hours

Child Helpline Cambodia extends its free 1280 helpline services’ opening hours from 13.5 to 24 hours today. The extension will meet the demand for access to emotional support services overnight, when many children and youth are in a better position to contact phone counsellors to discuss problems. Additionally, many problems occur late at night and children and youth require assistance.

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January 23, 2013

Business and Child Safe Tourism – launch of industry resources

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the industry section of today. Whether you are a sole trader, small business or large company, there are simple steps you can take to better protect vulnerable children in tourism destinations and attract good quality customers who care about the places they visit. The industry section provides information on simple and low-cost actions your business can implement.

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August 17, 2012

Cambodia Ministry of Tourism Escalate Efforts to Protect Children in Tourism

The Cambodia Ministry of Tourism and World Vision Cambodia announces today the escalation of efforts to protect children in tourism through a new Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) initiative, Project Childhood. Project Childhood brings together World Vision, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and INTERPOL to address the serious issue of sexual exploitation of children in tourism in a dual prevention and protection approach.

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September 27, 2011

Tourists and the child exploitation industry

Travellers and expats in Thailand know the scene of child poverty well. A six year old girl sitting neatly on a mat, painted in bright red lipstick, with a woman sitting nearby; begging for money. A 12 year old boy selling chewing gum at 11pm in an adult entertainment area. He impresses you with his cheeky smile and English gift of the gab. In sticky moments like these you want to help, as feelings of pity and awkwardness tell you that something isn’t right. You might end up handing over some coins. Whatever you do, you are left with an uncomfortable feeling that you have not really made any difference to help the life of this unfortunate child. Now add another dimension to the thought - what if the next person they approach wants something in return for their 50 baht?

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