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Gap year students cause more harm than good as top university calls for orphanage visits to stop - Khmer News - Explore Angkor Wat
 

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Gap year students cause more harm than good as top university calls for orphanage visits to stop

Mr Coles told The Sunday Telegraph some of the agencies who set up overseas placements, of which there are hundreds in the UK, are taking advantage of the good nature of volunteers.  He said: “I really do believe in the power of volunteering but we have to be careful of what people are doing as many people are sent to work with vulnerable children overseas.  “This can potentially lead to child trafficking, sexual exploitation and psychological disorders within the children living in these orphanages.” When asked how students travelling abroad can lead to child trafficking, Mr Coles said “well-stocked” orphanages were seen as a successful business venture in countries including Cambodia. He said: “In Cambodia, the number of children living without parents has gone down but the number of orphanages has risen dramatically.  “People who run orphanages are going out to very poor areas and convincing families to put their children into the residential care system on the promise on Westerners and foreigners coming to teach them.”  Anna McKeon, 35, who attended the University of Cambridge, cut short her year-long volunteering project to orphanages in Kenya and Thailand after realising she was completely unprepared. She now actively campaigns against similar placements.  Explore Angkor Wat