Take responsibility “don’t turn a blind eye to child abuse.”

Take responsibility “don’t turn a blind eye to child abuse.”

The Archers will be familiar to many UK readers of this post. It a radio soap with over 5 million listeners and a further million listening online. Launched in 1951 it is the world’s longest running drama. Originally an everyday story of country folk it is now billed a contemporary drama in a rural setting.

Very contemporary, the Archers has addressed many major social issues including domestic violence, depression, sepsis and now the sexual exploitation of children. WTM Responsible Tourism has been addressing the child protection issues in travel and tourism since November 2011, sticking with the issue year after year – which has led to progress. Many companies have stopped offering orphanage volunteering opportunities and visits, as well as discouraged tourists from making donations. Too often children are trafficked into orphanages run as lucrative businesses, to create an attraction for tourists and tour operators.

Since between five and six million potential customers have heard a dramatic portrayal of how damaged the victims of child sexual abuse are, there is heightened awareness amongst a large group of UK consumers about how damaging child sexual abuse is. Director of SurvivorsUK, Andy Connolly, explains: “In a world where [a survivor] might feel invisible or ignored, a high-profile story such as this can really help a survivor feel that their needs and experiences are represented in the public realm.” More about the Archers story.

Andy Lilicrap has been working in Thailand and Myanmar through the One Sky Foundation, in the border district of Sangkhlaburi for nine years, developing child protection policy and more responsible practices as alternatives to orphanages, including education support, healthcare support, alternative care and income generation.

G Adventures has developed a short video on how to interact with children whilst travelling, such as taking photos, giving gifts or money, and volunteering in orphanages. They use the premise that if you wouldn’t do it at home, don’t do it while you are travelling overseas. There is a lot of information available online on the harm of orphanage volunteering, but a good first port of call is Re-Think Orphanages.

At WTM London in November, Martin Punaks, formerly of Next Generation Nepal and Lumos, J K Rowling’s charity, will be moderating a panel discussion focussed on how do we engage travellers and holidaymakers in developing alternatives to orphanages.

We are putting together advice for travellers and holidaymakers to publish on the WTM site in November – if you have material that we should include please email harold@haroldgoodwin.info

WTM London’s 2019 World Responsible Tourism Awards are now open for submissions – enter now!

The categories for the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards are:

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Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracted 4000 participants in 2020 and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Latin America. Harold works with industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists and undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is an Emeritus Professor, and Founder Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration which he drafted.

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