Saturday, 12 February 2011

Cambodia's orphan tourism

via CAAI

With more than 600,000 orphans in Cambodia, we look at the booming business behind the country's orphanages.

101 East Last Modified: 10 Feb 2011 13:27 GMT

Cambodia's beautiful temples and dark history attracts tourists from across the world.

But many of today's holidaymakers want to do more than sightseeing, with a growing number volunteering their time, energy and skills for free.

From schools to orphanages, they hope their efforts will have a positive impact on the country. But critics claim that such good intentions are having a negative impact, with some orphanages creating a booming business trading on guilt.

There are reports of orphanages using children with parents to pose as orphans, of wealthy tourists depriving local workers from getting much-needed jobs, and of orphans forming emotional attachments to volunteers and facing more trauma when they leave.

On this edition of 101 East, we ask if volunteer tourism does more harm than good for the people of Cambodia.

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