"Children are not safe in orphanages"

Orphanage tourism (volunteering for a month in an African orphanage) is fuelling child abuse and illegal adoption. Kristen Cheney has been studying the phenomenon. Based on her input, the Dutch government recently reformed its policy on orphanage tourism.

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is involved in a global campaign to discourage people from going off to volunteer in orphanages in Africa, hence its signing of the #StopOrphanTrips pledge. Kristen Cheney, an associate professor of children & youth studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam, plays an active role in this campaign. The emergence of orphanages as a business model and the phenomenon of orphanage tourism have resulted in many children being separated from their own, still living, families. Purely for money. This was one of the findings of Cheney’s research on the orphan industrial complex: "The real problem is not one of orphans, but of poverty, and scarce protection for children."

Read the whole interview with ea. magazine.

Associate professor