Child Rights & Safety
We wanted to give you guys an explanation of how we think and work – what we care about and our positioning on different topics.
“Rights" are things every child should have or be able to do. All children have the same rights. These rights are listed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Almost every country has agreed to these rights. All the rights are connected to each other, and all are equally important. Sometimes, we have to think about rights in terms of what is the best for children in a situation, and what is critical to life and protection from harm. Our policy is to maintain these children’s rights in all aspects of our organization and practice. Please read the articles here: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
the how behind the what.
We rely on foundations like the UN and their organizations to gain knowledge on how to help children in the best way possible. We have learned a lot from these organizations and their visions, but we have also learned a lot from talking to the children and people in Laos to understand their needs and hopes for their education and future.
“Rights" are things every child should have or be able to do. All children have the same rights. These rights are listed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Almost every country has agreed to these rights. All the rights are connected to each other, and all are equally important. Sometimes, we have to think about rights in terms of what is the best for children in a situation, and what is critical to life and protection from harm. Our policy is to maintain these children’s rights in all aspects of our organization and practice. Please read the articles here: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Every child deserves to feel safe. We support the mission of ChildSafe, who work to protect children and youth who are living in poverty or affected in any other way that prevents them from having their internationally recognized rights fulfilled. We cooperate with ChildSafe to make sure that we take every precaution possible to protect the children from any harm.
Here are some of ChildSafe’s tips when travelling the Southeast Asia that we truly support:
When traveling in certain countries, it has become a norm for visitors to be approached by children, requesting that they make a visit to their orphanage before leaving town. Generally, a visit would include a short performance or dance routine by the children, accompanied with a request for a small donation to assist with orphanage running costs. An entire industry has grown out of thousands of tourist visits. It is known as orphanage tourism.
A recent report into Cambodian residential institutions (orphanages) has revealed that tourist visits, despite tourists’ best intentions, cause more harm than good. The report shows that orphanage tourism, often conducted by unscrupulous business operators, does more to harm, rather than help child protection, rights and education standards. Further, it is shown that this industry contributes to the separation of families.
Children living or studying in schools, orphanages or slums shouldn’t be exposed to tourist visits. These places are not zoos. Imagine a bus full of foreigners visiting schools in your home country. Would you find this acceptable? Working with children in institutions such as orphanages is a job for local experts, not for travellers who are just passing through. Children deserve more than good intentions: they deserve experienced and skilled caretakers and teachers who know the local culture and language.
When you give money, food or gifts to begging children, you encourage them to continue begging, which prevents them from going to school and locks them into a cycle of poverty. Helping children directly can cause problems because you don’t know the local culture and laws. For instance, never take a child back to your hotel room – it’s dangerous for both you and the child.
Sex tourism involving children is a devastating reality. It happens in hotels, in bars, etc. You may also be offered to have sex with children.
When you see such a situation, don’t put yourself at risk. Call a child protection hotline, contact a local organization or call the police so immediate action can be taken to protect the child and investigate the situation.
Some children sell goods at tourist sites or offer their services as guides. Others are hired in tourism businesses like hotels or restaurants, and this is a problem when it hurts their education and development. Do not buy goods or use services offered by children. If you think that a business employs underage children and prevents them from going to school, call a child protection hotline, contact a local organization or call the police. They will check the child’s situation – many children are just helping out their parents after school, but some may be exploited.
ChildSafe raises awareness about how you can help children during your trip. It also trains and certifies many businesses in the tourism industry (such as hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, and taxi services) to actively protect children. Use ChildSafe-certified businesses when planning and throughout your trip to avoid being involved in harmful situations for children. Every action described in these tips can make a big difference. Join the movement and together, let’s protect children!