To protect children during your travel

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We created 7 Tips to help you understand what can harm children during your travels. Every year, millions of tourists travel to developing countries. Once there, they are touched by the difficult living conditions of children from the local communities and they want to help. Despite their good intentions, their behavior can often have a negative impact upon those children’s lives. Visiting orphanages or schools, visiting slums, giving money or food to begging children, these are all behaviors which keep children in poverty or even in abusive situations. We give you tips on what can be harmful alongside proactive ways you can help.
Tip 1 - THINK! Children are not tourist attractions – let’s not treat them like they are.


Children have the same rights wherever they live and​ should never be treated like tourist attractions. If you ​were at home, would you visit an orphanage or slum? Would you take photos of children or families you didn’t know? Would you visit schools, causing disruption to education? If you wouldn’t do it back home, then don’t do it when you travel.

Travel ChildSafe – Put children first and wherever you go, treat them as you would your own.​ Learn more.


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 travelers who are just passing through. Children deserve more than good intentions, they need 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 or buy anything from them, you encourage them to continue begging. This 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 that make a positive impact on the local community, such as vocational training restaurants and social enterprises, or donate to organizations supporting children and their families.

Find such organizations and businesses here.

Tip 4 - THINK! Children should not be at work instead of school – report child labor.
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.

Travel ChildSafe – Do not buy goods or use services offered by children. If you think that a business employs underage children call a child protection hotline, contact a local organization or the police. They will check the child’s situation — many children are just helping out their parents after school, but some may be exploited. Find hotline numbers here.

Tip 5 - THINK! Sex with children is a crime – report child sex tourism.
Sexual exploitation of children is a devastating reality. It can happen in hotels, bars and restaurants for example. You may even be approached and offered 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 the police, so immediate action can be taken to protect the child and investigate the situation.

Find a list of hotlines here.

Tip 6 - THINK! Professionals know best – call them if a child needs help.
When faced with a child at risk your natural reaction is to help directly. However, you do not know the local realities, may lack the expertise needed, put yourself at risk, or even break local laws. So, who can you call? The local professionals!

Travel ChildSafe – You can find a list of local hotlines here.

Tip 7 -THINK! Keep our planet ChildSafe – protect the environment.

When you travel you want to enjoy all the natural beauty a country can offer and so do the children and people of that country. As our collective future is at risk from climate change, pollution and other negative human-made impacts, think how you can take positive steps to protect the environment so children can build their futures.

Travel ChildSafe – While you travel, be mindful of your actions and how they impact the environment and support​ initiatives that protect our planet for our children. Find out more.


We also developed country specific tips. Discover them below.

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