Take the right actions to help children at risk. While travelling in Asia, you frequently face children begging, sometimes alone and sometimes in an elderly persons company, you see children selling fruit, postcards, or even asking to shine your shoes, these children need your protection. It’s up to you to take the right actions.
Here follows 6 tips and travel child safe!
1 THINK! Children are not tourist attractions – let’s not treat them like they are. 2. THINK! Volunteering with children feels good but could be harmful – look for better ways to help them. 3. THINK! Children pay a price for your generosity – don’t give to begging children. 4. THINK! Professionals know best – call them if a child needs help. 5. THINK! Sex with children is crime – report child sex tourism. 6. THINK! Children should not be at work instead of school – report child labour. Use Child Safe certified businesses when planning and throughout your trip to avoid being involved in a harmful situations for children. Every action described in these tips will make a big difference.
Living in Thailand and other Asian countries, make you see children, in explored situations, daily. You find begging women with sleeping babies, mostly around the skytrain stations or outside shopping malls. You wonder how the children can lay so calmly and being so quiet, be aware, that these children have been drugged. It is very tempting to give them money, as to see them breaking your heart, but in fact, you don’t make them a favour. Giving money to children begging or selling products on the streets will actually keep them on the streets, where they are vulnerable for abuse and exploitation. It will also keep them away from school or vocational training which is the best way out of poverty.
A better solution if you want to help children at risk is to support a local organisation working to protect children. Friends International is one of those organisations and they have summarised their long experience of working with children and families connected to the streets in the seven tips above. Friends International is a partner of World Childhood Foundation whose representatives recently visited Thailand together with Ecpat, Sweden. The purpose of the trip was to explore how the police, civil society, travellers, expats and others together can help combat sexual exploitation of children. Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden was Patron of the First World Congress against commercial sexual exploitation of children when a girl stood up and shared her personal experience of sexual abuse… this led Queen Silvia to make the decision to start “The World Childhood Foundation” in 1999 together with 14 family foundations, private individuals and companies that all shared her vision.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT. www.thinkchildsafe.org
Today the foundation supports more than 100 programmes annually in 15 countries. More than 1000 projects have received nearly $80 million from Childhood’s offices in Sweden, Brazil, Germany and the USA. The foundation supports children who are victims of abuse and sexual exploitation, street children, families at risk and children in alternative care. Childhood today works with the UN to drive change for children on an international scale. Childhood’s mission is to stimulate, promote and develop supportive environments and solutions to prevent and address sexual abuse and exploitation as well as violence against children. The values are based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The 14 generous co-founders, have each contributed to 1 million USD to make it possible to start operations and project funding. Those names are familiar, not only to the Swedish society, but also worldwide; ABB, Axel Johnson Group, Charles B. Wang Foundation, Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation, Daimler Corporation Fund, The Barbro E. Heinz Family, the Jan H. Stenbeck Family, the Jane and Dan Olson Family, the Sven Philip-Sörensen Family, Heimbold Foundation, SAP AG, Skandia and Telia Sonera AB. By investing in children at an early stage, Childhood works to prevent marginalisation, abuse and neglect. World Childhood Foundation supports many projects today in following countries; USA, Brazil, Belarus, Cambodia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Nepal, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand and the Ukraine. In Thailand and Cambodia, World Childhood Foundation cooperates with the local organisation “Friends International, Thailand”.
The organisation is based in Bangkok. Through the partnership with Friends International, Childhood works to help marginalised children and youth to a safer future trough reintegration into families, communities and education. Another project partner in Thailand is One Sky Foundation, that provides support to vulnerable families and children in Sanghklabouri, a difficult-toaccess area along the border with Myanmar. In this area, there are essentially no social networks for families. Poverty and discrimination have contributed to many of the area’s children living in 17 unregistered orphanages, despite having at least one living parent.
Childhood also works with Step Ahead Foundation and supports their Keeping Families Together programme, for poor families living in slumareas where there is a risk that the child will end up in the streets or in an orphanage. Step Ahead Foundation provides long-term support and training to families so that they remain together and thereby ensure children’s rights to safety and protection. If you would consider contributing to World Childhood Foundation you can do so online. It’s easy, convenient and secure. Help to protect more children through any of the projects Childhood supports. Don’t forget, every donation, small or big, make a huge difference.
Queen Silvia of Sweden and her daughter, Princess Madeleine (who works for Childhood in the US) are deeply involved in Childhood’s work In February 2018. Her Majesty Queen Silvia held the key note speech about child sexual abuse at The Academic Conference for the Lay Judges from the Juvenile and Family Courts of Thailand. Together mother and daughter make a real power team. Now it’s up to us to contribute to making the world a better world for children. If you have a suspicion that a child is being sexually abused, do not hesitate to report it. Even if you do not have the whole picture, your information may be the missing piece of the puzzle for the police. Try to make yourself as clear as possible, the more details, the better, where, when, how, etc. As a first option, you should report to the local police, but if you hesitate to do so due to language misunderstandings you can report to the police in your country.
For reports related to suspected child sex offenders from Sweden or Europe you can report through: www.Resekurage.se or Ecpat.se For more information you can also contact Joel Borgström, Childhood’s programme manager for Thailand [email protected]