Orphanage tourism drawing large numbers of tourists in developing countries

Published on : Sunday, July 23, 2017

OrphanageHolidays are a privilege for many. They are an opportunity to indulge, relax, recharge and feeling refreshed.

But the costs of production of the tourist experience are often glossed over. Modern slavery practices are especially manifest in the tourism supply chain in developing countries.

Modern slavery can be described as the conduct of practices similar to slavery, including debt bondage and forced labour. The use of force, deception and the deprivation of freedom are common. It’s common in developing countries where people are desperate and vulnerable to exploitation. However, developed countries are immune. In most developed countries, much less attention is given to modern slavery than elsewhere. In case of developing countries, labour is cheap and exploitation underlies the production of goods and services consumed in developed countries.

According to the Global Slavery Index, in 2016 about 45.8 million people were subject to some form of modern slavery. Majority of these numbers are from developing countries where worker rights are poorly protected.

International tourism in developing countries is neither all good nor all bad. Beyond its potential to do good, however, tourism and its association with modern slavery are rarely highlighted. Some of the strongest links between slavery and tourism are found in sex tourism, orphanage tourism and in the services supply chain. The enormous growth of orphanage tourism in Southeast Asia is a proof of this. Orphanage tourism takes place when tourists visit orphanages and donate money and goods.

While coming to terms with growth of orphanage tourism in developing countries, the usual absence of families and communities requires an urgent rethink.

The solution lies in reducing tourist demand for orphanage experiences and establishing the fact that children are not tourist attractions.


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