This article was published on July 22nd, 2018
When traveling in developing countries, it is easy to become overwhelmed with how vastly different their society and cultures can be compared to those at home. Disparaging wealth differences, lifestyles, laws, religious acts, and societal norms, not like your own, might be shocking and upsetting at first, especially when it comes to children. Social issues involving minors can have a negative influence, both on you and the locals. In respect to the future generations, travel with a clear conscience and moral compass by being aware of some items when traveling abroad in regard to kids and their well-being.
Children are not tourist attractions. You should never photograph or solicit a photo graph with a child unless they are the ones to want one. Otherwise, you are exploiting their image for some kind of selfie social media moment, when you really break it down.
If you’re on a mission or volunteer tourism trip, make sure your volunteer experience supports children and is not harmful to the local kids. Share your professional skills with local staff and do not work directly with children.
Do not give to begging children while abroad. It encourages the behavior. It’s better to donate to credible organizations that supporting children and families. If you absolutely feel the need to give, think about giving them a meal or water, instead of money.
Contact the local professionals or authorities if you see a child in need or one that you feel is being exploited. Caring for a child can cause you direct problems if you do not know the local culture and laws.
Always remember sex with children is a crime. Do not put yourself at risk because there can be significant legal consequences. Taking advantage of an under developed community’s minors only contributes to their problems. The sex slave industry is alive and real. Don’t aid and abet. Who wants to have sex with a minor, anyway?
Do not support local businesses that employ children during school hours. Kids should be at school not working. It hurts their opportunity for growth through education and development. There’s a good chance these companies are taking advantage of a family’s misfortune by using child labor.
It the local situation involving the children really bothers you, investigate to learn what you can personally do to correct the problem. Be prepared for a possible reality that you mightn’t be able to do anything. Or you might be able to contribute to some organization with feet on the ground already.