Voluntourism Policy

As part of sustainable and responsible travel and tourism development, the industry must ensure that only responsible and safe forms of voluntourism are undertaken.

Companies should exclude visits to orphanages from tourism packages as it drives institutionalisation which causes harm to children. Without regulation and care, some forms of voluntourism allow un-vetted access to children that puts them at risk of being trafficked and sexually exploited.

To address this issue, The Code developed a voluntourism policy for its current and prospective members, in addition to its main six criteria to protect children.

The Code Policy outlines criteria and provides guidelines for:

Organisations interested in membership of The Code

Organisations offering voluntourism products, or considering offering such products

Organisations currently involved in orphanage activities as a tourist attraction


Orphanage Divestment Resources for the Travel and Volunteering Sectors

Through consultation with organisations that have successfully transitioned as well as leaders in tourism, volunteering and child protection, this resource has been developed to support businesses in the travel and volunteering sectors to responsibly divest from relationships with orphanages.

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The Global Standard for Volunteering for Development

While not focused on tourism specifically, the Global Standard gives extensive guidance to volunteer organisations so that all community members and volunteers are kept safe and free from harm.

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ABTA Volunteer Tourism Guidelines

Practical guide for travel companies delivering volunteer tourism experiences. These best practice guidelines have been developed in consultation with a wide range of organisations to assist with understanding the range of issues and support activities that make tourism a positive means for change.

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ReThink Orphanages Volunteer Checklist

ReThink Orphanages is a global, cross-sector coalition working to prevent family separation and unnecessary child institutionalization by shifting the way countries in the global north engage with overseas aid and development.

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Better Care Network Volunteer Checklist

A guide for what to look for to make sure your time overseas is spent making a genuine difference:

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Think Child Safe

ChildSafe is a global movement protecting children and young people from abuse and exploitation.

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