The Australian Government has launched a campaign to prevent Australians from inadvertently contributing to child exploitation through the practice of orphanage tourism, including by participating in misleading volunteer programs. The Smart Volunteering Campaign discourages Australians from any form of short-term, unskilled volunteering in overseas orphanages and provides guidelines on how to be a child-safe volunteer.

Although Australia has a long and proud history of volunteering overseas, some Australian volunteers have unwittingly contributed to harmful practices by participating in the ‘voluntourism’ industry and engaging in orphanage tourism.

The Smart Volunteering Campaign encourages Australians planning to volunteer overseas to:

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

Anyone considering volunteering overseas should visit the Australian Volunteers website.