ChildSafe Movement, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

ChildSafe is a movement actively protecting children and youth around the world, initiated by Friends-International in 2005. I supervise the implementation of this award-winning Movement internationally, promoting sustainable tourism among all stakeholders whilst simultaneously building networks and supportive structures. It both implements and advocates for child protection policies and practices by giving the opportunity to everyone to take action. Its initiatives provide the highest standards of protection to all children and youth, involving key members within all tiers of society and the international community.

ChildSafe has developed numerous tools to raise awareness and provide solutions to child protection amongst key tourism industry stakeholders as well as within all tiers of society and the international community.

The ChildSafe Movement, 10 years ago, initially addressed child protection issues in urban communities with approaches centred on building the capacity of key individuals (through training and monitoring) to effectively protect children. We recognized that with the parallel rapid growth of tourism we needed to also address child protection issues with the tourism industry and visitors – to alert tourists to the possibility that well-meaning actions on their behalf (giving money to begging children, visiting/supporting orphanages, attempting to intervene and help ‘poor’ children) may actually result in harm to those children. The ICTP community can help us to reduce and avoid the negative impacts surrounding child protection in the tourism industry. Together we could integrate child protection into a sustainable and workable strategy, and this strategy can be valuable for businesses and travelers.

by Valerie Sfeir