Child Protection Policy
Child exploitation and the role of the travel and tourism industry
Fuelled by globalisation and new technologies, the travel and tourism industry was expanding at an extraordinary rate. As the industry evolves, it needs to ensure that measures for child protection are implemented. Children are at risk from travelling child sex offenders, who take advantage of poverty, social exclusion and vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.
In recent years, a growing number of global, regional and national entities have taken innovative measures to ensure that, as the travel and tourism industry evolves, child protection is taken into consideration.
It is crucial to capitalise on the progress to fight sexual exploitation of children that have been made in recent years by adequately addressing SECTT (Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism) during the recovery of the travel and tourism industry (thecode.org/the-issue)
Our commitment to child protection at Asian Trails
At Asian Trails, we remain fully committed to supporting organizations that protect the rights of children and their families by being a part of the movement to create a safe environment for children and preventing any forms of abuse and exploitation that may arise from travellers and the tourism industry.
Amongst the organizations we actively support is ChildSafe. This Non-Government Organization (NGO) aims to eradicate the misuse of children – be it sexual exploitation, forced labour or any other means that is contradictory to the universal rights of children – as part of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights by the UN, as well as being a source of education for visitors and guests.
Education and Training
Our overarching goal is to have as many staff as possible undergo child protection training conducted by a certified, reputable organization working on the ground in that destination.
Child protection training is designed to help businesses understand what key actions need to be taken to mitigate risks involving child exploitation and provide helpful guidance on how to uphold child welfare across all areas of business, including the supply chain.
By having as many staff as possible attending these training, we believe that we will spread awareness and be better equipped to identify and report any suspicious situations to prevent child exploitation.
Our children are our future. Every child has the right to be safe from harm, feels secure and is given the chance to be a child and to develop itself to become an invaluable member of society. The protection of children is documented internationally, and those in need of support do require that extra attention. In Asia, numerous orphanages are founded to give parents-less children that safe haven.
Asian Trails firmly believes that orphanage visits must be avoided for tourism purposes. Our stance on saying no to orphanage tourism is based on the following criteria:
An orphanage is not the best solution for any child.
Asian Trails tries to tackle the problem by the root and support NGO’s that take care of educating parents and/or find foster families;
Children are not tourist attractions
There are many organizations, even tourism agencies that make use of tourists’ goodwill for guilty trade purposes. Many orphanages are not licensed but purpose-built as tourist attractions while the children “at display” are not real orphans and still have parents. Sometimes these places are even involved in criminal activities;
Volunteering programs can cause more harm than do good
Short-term volunteering and frequent change of reference persons can lead to children becoming distrusting and having a hard time building long-lasting relationships later on.