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Australia says orphanage trafficking is modern-day slavery

November 29, 2018 4:02 pm

Australia has become the first country in the world to recognise so-called orphanage trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery.

The legislation forms part of a wider drive to stop Australians taking part in “voluntourism” schemes which harm rather than help the children.

It is estimated 80% of children living in the world’s orphanages have at least one living parent.

In many cases, they have been lured to the orphanages to attract volunteers.

A report by ReThink Orphanages found more than 57% of Australian universities advertise orphanage placements, with 14% of Australian schools visiting, volunteering or fundraising for institutions abroad.

The demand for such trips has created a problem in South East Asia, Australian Senator Linda Reynolds said earlier this year, calling orphan tourism the “perfect 21st-Century scam”.

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Ms Reynolds told the Thomson Reuters Foundation foreign visitors were left with a “sugar rush” after apparently doing something good – and then sharing it on social media.

But many fail to realise their “good deed” is in fact fuelling an industry based on child exploitation in numerous countries around the world.

In effect, then-Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in March, the children have “become tourist attractions”.