LONDON, Oct 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Young travellers who volunteer at orphanages hoping to do good are driving the mistreatment of children, British author J.K. Rowling said on Thursday, as she launched a campaign against so-called ‘voluntourism’.
Propped up by donations and foreign aid, orphanages are a lucrative business in many parts of the developing world.
Of the estimated 8 million children living in orphanages, at least eight in 10 have at least one living parent and many have been trafficked, according to Lumos, a children’s charity founded by the woman who invented boy wizard Harry Potter.
“Some orphanages are set up literally to exploit children - in other words the children are the bait for the foreign donations,” Rowling said at the One Young World youth summit.
“Often these young will come away [from the orphanage] believing they did good and are appalled when the facts are laid out in front of them and they realise that they may have contributed to the perpetuation of abuse.” (Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Tom Finn and Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)