Phnom Penh, Cambodia – 17 August 2012.
The Cambodia Ministry of Tourism and World Vision Cambodia announces today the escalation of efforts to protect children in tourism through a new Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) initiative, Project Childhood. Project Childhood brings together World Vision, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and INTERPOL to address the serious issue of sexual exploitation of children in tourism in a dual prevention and protection approach.
World Vision has worked in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism since 2001 when the Ministry of Tourism first established the Child Safe Tourism Committee. World Vision’s appointment as implementing agency for Project Childhood Prevention Pillar builds on its long-term partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and World Vision’s track record in child protection.
In recent years, Cambodia has become an increasingly attractive tourist destination. The Ministry of Tourism’s statistics show that Cambodia welcomed 2.8 million international visitors in 2011, a 15% increase from 2010.
“We know tourism destinations attract vulnerable children and families seeking an income,” says Mr Phang Chanda, National Coordinator for Project Childhood Prevention Pillar, “As tourism grows, we need to put safeguards in place to ensure children are protected from all forms of abuse. We not only want tourism to be safe for the environment, safe for Cambodian culture, heritage and communities, but we also want tourism to be safe for all children, especially those that are most vulnerable.”
World Vision commends the Ministry of Tourism’s leadership for Child Safe Tourism. In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, World Vision will work with Government and the tourism sector to become more aware of vulnerabilities of at-risk children and support responsible tourism practices that prioritise child protection. This begins with a Child Safe Tourism Committee two-day workshop, resulting in a work plan for Child Safe Tourism in Cambodia. World Vision is also working in communities with girls and boys, parents and community leaders to build resilience against abuse.