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World Expeditions welcomes Federal Government’s campaign against Orphanage Tourism

March 2, 2018 Tour Operator No Comments Email Email

World Expeditions has welcomed the Federal Government’s plans to divert well-meaning Australian volunteers from foreign orphanages that exploit fake orphans for profit.

The Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, has announced a campaign involving states, territories, schools and universities to curb Australian involvement in so-called orphanage tourism in developing nations.

World Expeditions Responsible Travel Manager, Donna Lawrence, says she is heartened to see that the Federal Government is taking this human rights issue seriously.

World Expeditions and its school and youth brand, World Youth Adventures, are members of the ReThink Orphanages Network, an organization working to prevent the unnecessary institutionalisation of children in developing countries. 

 “There is compelling evidence that orphanage tourism – the practice of well meaning travellers visiting and volunteering in orphanages – is open to abuse from corrupt organisations operating under the guise of an orphanage and praying on well-meaning but uninformed travellers,” Ms Lawrence said.

“We removed all orphanage visits and volunteering from both our schools’ program – through World Youth Adventures – and from our regular adventure travel program – through World Expeditions – in 2013 as soon as we became aware of the research,” she said. 

“We followed up by developing with the industry’s first Child Protection Code of Conduct, working alongside World Vision’s Child Protection and Trafficking division.”“

“As a global leader in responsible travel, the World Expeditions Travel Group is proud to become a member of the Rethink Orphanages’ working group and we’re excited to see the Federal Government now putting their weight behind this important human rights issue,” Ms Lawrence said.

Orphanage Tourism is one of the topics being discussed at World Expeditions Thoughtful Traveller Q & A which will be held at the company’s Sydney headquarters on Wednesday 14th March.

In 2013, World Expeditions become the first Australian tour operator to remove all instances of orphanage tourism from its programs, when research first revealed a direct relationship between the increase in the number of orphanages in developing nations and the increase in tourism numbers.

World Expeditions collaborates with expert organizations to develop its industry-leading Responsible Travel policies and the Thoughtful Traveller Q&A will be the first time the company has brought these organizations together in an interactive public forum.  

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