Australia just became the first country in the world to recognise orphanage trafficking as a type of modern-day slavery.
The Modern Slavery Bill, which finally became law yesterday, will require businesses with turnovers of more than $100 million to report what they are doing to prevent slavery in supply chains.
The legislation is part of a wider push to stop Australians from taking part in “voluntourism” schemes which do more harm than good.
According to the BBC, 80 per cent of children living in the world’s orphanages have at least one living parent and have been lured to the orphanages to attract volunteers.
Plus, more than 57 per cent of Australian universities advertise orphanage placements, and 14 per cent of our schools visit, volunteer or fundraise for these institutions, ReThink Orphanages found.
Earlier this year Australian Senator Linda Reynolds said the demand for such trips has created a big problem in South East Asia, calling orphan tourism the “perfect 21st-century scam”, as per the BBC.
Reynolds said foreign visitors are often left with a “sugar rush” from doing something they believe is making a difference, when in fact their “good deed” is fuelling an industry based on child exploitation.
Intrepid Group, which has been advocating for the bills passing, provided recommendations to the government for reporting requirements for Aussie businesses that profit from orphanage tourism.
“Intrepid welcomes the Modern Slavery bill passing today,” said CEO James Thornton.
“As a steering committee member of Rethink Orphanages Australia, this is something we have advocated for since the Bill was proposed in 2017.
“We hope this will bring more awareness to the damaging impacts of orphanage tourism.
“We removed any visits to orphanages from our Intrepid trips in 2016 and are pleased to see the Australian government legislate that this is a form of modern slavery.”