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Child-Protection Campaign Launched in Cambodia

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The picture says it all: Children are to be protected, and not made into tourist attractions

PHNOM PENH, March 27 (Khmer Times) — World Vision Cambodia in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday launched a new nationwide child-safe tourism campaign, aiming to prevent child sexual exploitation in the tourism sector.
The campaign is part of an Australian government initiative  Project Childhood Prevention Pillar  that aims to prevent child sexual exploitation in tourism in the Mekong sub-region, a statement said.
“The campaign is also being run in the neighboring countries of Laos, Thailand and Vietnam,” it said.
Cambodia welcomed 4.2 million foreign tourists last year, an increase of 17 percent from a year earlier, it said, adding that this rapid growth raises concerns about how to ensure that local children are only positively impacted by tourism.
“Tourism destinations attract vulnerable children and families seeking an income,” the statement said. “These children may engage in income earning activity on the street, making them particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.”
In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, World Vision Cambodia has produced 120,000 stickers, 10,000 tent cards and 36 signboards with Child Safe Tourism messages, which are being distributed in key tourism locations through government, public and private stakeholders working in the tourism sector.
Hor Sarun, undersecretary of state of the Ministry of Tourism, said most tourists come to enjoy the beautiful attractions and culture, but child sexual abuse committed by a handful of tourists is a major concern for Cambodian society as well as the globe. 
“Children are the future human resource and they should be protected from all forms of abuse,” he said, adding that the Cambodian government encourages all people to take part in building a child-safe tourism environment in Cambodia.
Phang Chanda, Project Childhood coordinator for World Vision Cambodia, said World Vision’s research found that many travelers wanted to help at-risk children; however, they were confused about what actions they could take and wanted more information.
“These materials provide useful information and advice to help travelers and local residents make responsible choices and take a stand against all forms of child abuse,” he said.

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