Australia has just become the first country in the world to officially recognise orphanage trafficking as a type of modern-day slavery.
The Modern Slavery Bill became law yesterday, and is part of a push to stop Australians from taking part in ethically dubious ‘voluntourism’ schemes. It will also require large businesses to report what actions they’re taking to prevent slavery in supply chains.
According to research conducted by the BBC, 80% of children living in the world’s orphanages have at least one living parent and are only there to attract volunteers.
Further research by ReThink Orphanages found that 57% of Australian universities advertise orphanage placements, and 14% of Australian schools visit, volunteer, or fundraise for orphanages.
Australian senator Linda Reynolds has called orphan tourism the “perfect 21st-century scam”, convincing volunteers that they are doing a good deed while inadvertently fuelling child exploitation.
The Modern Slavery Bill was first proposed in 2017, and passed the House of Representatives in September this year.