Tip 1: THINK! Children are not tourist attractions – let’s not treat them like they are
Children living or studying in schools, orphanages or slums shouldn’t be exposed to tourist visits. These places are not zoos. Imagine a bus full of foreigners visiting schools in your home country. Would you find this acceptable?
Travel ChildSafe: put child protection first and do not visit these places.
Tip 2: THINK! Volunteering with children feels good but could be harmful – look for better ways to help them
Working with children in institutions such as orphanages is a job for local experts, not for travellers who are just passing through. Children deserve more than good intentions: they deserve experienced and skilled caretakers and teachers who know the local culture and language.
Travel ChildSafe: make sure your volunteering is a great experience and has the best impact possible. Do not work directly with children; instead, share your professional skills with local staff. You can also explore other ways to put your talents to use.
Tip 3: THINK! Children pay a price for your generosity – don’t give to begging children
When you give money, food or gifts to begging children, you encourage them to continue begging, which prevents them from going to school and locks them into a cycle of poverty.
Travel ChildSafe: there are better ways to support children and youth: use businesses with a social impact, such as training restaurants and shops, or donate to organizations supporting children and their families.
Tip 4: THINK! Professionals know best – call them if a child needs help
Helping children directly can cause problems because you don’t know the local culture and laws. For instance, never take a child back to your hotel room – it’s dangerous for both you and the child
Travel ChildSafe: when you see a child in need, the best thing to do is to contact local professionals. Call a child protection hotline, contact a local organization or call the police. You won’t bother anyone – it is their job to check and help. Just call. You could save their life and give them a first chance to build their future.
Tip 5: THINK! Sex with children is a crime – report child sex tourism
Sex tourism involving children is a devastating reality. It happens in hotels, in bars, etc. You may also be offered to have sex with children.
Travel ChildSafe: when you see such a situation, don’t put yourself at risk. Call a child protection hotline, contact a local organization or call the police so immediate action can be taken to protect the child and investigate the situation.
Tip 6: THINK! Children should not be at work instead of school – report child labour
Some children sell goods at tourist sites or offer their services as guides. Others are hired in tourism businesses like hotels or restaurants, and this is a problem when it hurts their education and development.
Travel ChildSafe: do not buy goods or use services offered by children. If you think that a business employs underage children and prevents them from going to school, call a child protection hotline, contact a local organization or call the police. They will check the child’s situation – many children are just helping out their parents after school, but some may be exploited.
Tip 7: THINK! Protect children – be a ChildSafe traveller
ChildSafe raises awareness about how you can help children during your trip. It also trains and certifies many businesses in the tourism industry (such as hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, and taxi services) to actively protect children.
Travel ChildSafe: use ChildSafe-certified businesses when planning and throughout your trip to avoid being involved in harmful situations for children. Every action described in these tips can make a big difference. Join the movement and together, let’s protect children!
Finally, don’t forget to treat children and families with the same courtesy that you would use at home. Wanting to document your adventure and the people you meet is completely understandable, and makes for some great memories, but always ask permission before getting your camera out. And where children are involved, take the time to get consent with a parent or guardian in the first instance. Good manners will always go a long way no matter which part of the world you find yourself in.