The Code Voluntourism Policy

Written byAmanda Ho | Regenerative Travel
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Does your business include voluntourism programs with children or visits to orphanages? Volunteer tourism is defined as organized tourist trips of variable duration in which the main purpose is to volunteer.

Despite good intentions, without regulation, some forms of children-related voluntourism allow un-vetted access to children that puts them at risk of being trafficked and sexually exploited. Downsides of volunteering in residential care centers include the proliferation of orphanages focused on financial gain rather than children’s wellbeing, the potential separation of children from their families and increased risks of exploitation.

The Code Voluntourism Policy outlines the criteria by which organizations may apply to join The Code as well as potential risk mitigation strategies, including introducing clear policies and procedures to regulate harmful practices, increasing supervision and assessing which voluntourism activities are responsible and safe. It is important that tourism providers do their part to communicate with and redirect travelers towards solutions that meaningfully help children and support communities in a safe and equitable way.

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