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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
- Best for Wildlife & Nature Conservation
- Best for Reducing Carbon & Other Greenhouse Gases
- Best for Transparent Reporting
- Best for Reducing Plastic Waste
- Best for Coping with Success, dealing with Overtourism
- Best for Benefiting Local People