New campaign to tackle orphanage tourism

  • Joint media release:
01 March 2018

The Australian Government is launching a newcampaign to prevent Australians from inadvertently contributing to childexploitation through the practice of orphanage tourism, including byparticipating in misleading volunteer programs.

The Smart Volunteering Campaign discouragesAustralians from any form of short-term, unskilled volunteering in overseasorphanages and provides guidelines on how to be a child-safe volunteer.

Australia has a long and proud history ofvolunteering. For decades, thousands of Australians from all backgrounds havegiven their time and skills selflessly to help communities overseas. The workof our volunteers builds skills and supports economic growth in developingcountries.

However, some Australian volunteers haveunwittingly contributed to harmful practices by participating in the"voluntourism" industry and engaging in orphanage tourism.

Last year, the Australian Parliament, throughthe hard work of individuals like Liberal Senator for Western Australia, LindaReynolds, and Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-Committee, FederalMember for Dunkley, Chris Crewther, acknowledged trafficking and slavery inorphanage tourism as an important issue.

The Smart Volunteering Campaign encourages Australians planning tovolunteer overseas to:

  • Be an informed volunteer: Avoid short-term,unskilled volunteering in orphanages.
  • Be a child-safe volunteer: Avoid any activitywhere children are promoted as tourist attractions.
  • Be a prepared volunteer: Do your homework toensure you are making a positive impact in the local community.

The Australian Government will work withstates and territories and universities to ensure school groups and studentsare not unwittingly visiting or volunteering in programs that exploit children.

This work will help to ensure the goodintentions of so many Australians are fulfilled through positive actions thatprotect them and vulnerable children overseas.

Anyone considering volunteering overseasshould visit or email

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555