Child protection groups appalled by orphanage safari

February 21st, 2014

This article is more than 10 years old.

Travel agencies arranging orphanage tours in third world countries meet criticism from children’s rights organisations

A visit to a local children’s home where you can pat cute kids on the head is a popular way for tourists to experience the poorer side of life in countries like India, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia.

The tourists may mean well, but orphanage tourism damages and exploits parentless children according to children's rights organisations Børns Vilkår and Red Barnet, who want the travel agencies to stop arranging the tours immediately.

"To see the absurdity, you just have to imagine a reversed situation in which foreign tourists go on guided tours through Jutland and visit child institutions," Peter Albæk, the head of Børns Vilkår, told Kristeligt Dagblad. "There is no difference between a trip to an orphanage and a zoo. It's deeply tasteless and unethical."

Tours raise awareness and money
Albatros Travel is one of the agencies that arranges orphanage tours. Press spokesperson Steen Albrechten said their visits help raise awareness of homes that are often run by volunteers. 

"We don't just want people to pat kids on the head," Albrechten told Kristeligt Dagblad.

"We want to show a varied image of reality and we must realise that travellers are much more likely to make donations when they see the orphanages and the difference they can make."


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