Would it have crossed your mind that by sponsoring an orphaned child to give it opportunity to go to school or by volunteering at an orphanage you would be unintentionally supporting a criminal business? Search Google images for “Volunteering Orphanage” and you will be surprised at the number of pictures showing children with foreigners who are visitors or volunteers at orphanages. Everyone looks very happy but underneath the smiles can lie a very sad reality. In today’s “Students against Slavery” meeting we touched upon a topic that is very dear to my heart: orphan trafficking. We watched an extract from a documentary that showed the exploitation of children in orphanages in Nepal. Unreported World went undercover in Kathmandu, where they discovered that many children have been taken from impoverished parents and used by orphanage owners to attract foreign donations. It was shocking to see how this exploitative business and orphanage owners force parents to give up their children, take their birth certificates and put the children into their orphanages. This has become a burgeoning business enterprise with “children’s homes” springing up all the time and becoming internal child trafficking destinations. The sad part is that foreigners with good intentions are a key part of this: wishing to do something good and support the education of underprivileged children, they provide money and sponsorships that unfortunately feed the trafficking and abuse of child rights. Other tourists directly volunteer at orphanages, unaware that through “voluntourism” they have stepped into a child trafficking situation.
Orphan Trafficking is not limited to Nepal, it can be found in many countries and goes hand in hand with globalization. Below are recent articles on the subject and operating environment, one from Nepali Times and the other from the Kathmandu Post, as well as an extract from Unreported World.
“Students against Slavery” is one of my Quan Cais and works with anti-trafficking organizations, such as Liberty Asia, to raise funds and awareness. A few posts ago, I introduced to you the 24 Hour Race, a charity race to raise money against human trafficking and supporting rehabilitation centers for rescued victims in Cambodia. The race is expanding through Asia and will hopefully not only be held in Hong Kong next year, but also in Kuala Lumpur, as the reslt of a successful Project Week in Malaysia’s capital. A blogpost about this Project Week, as well as the SAS Project Week in rehabilitation centers of AFESIP in Cambodia will be uploaded soon!
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