The Kingdom of Cambodia welcomes you to discover its many treasures. Please respect the dignity of its culture, of its people, and in particular its children. When you travel, think and act wisely, you can make a difference: Every time you make the right decision you give a child a better chance at life. Travel eyes wide open!
Tips for travelling in Cambodia with children
Don’t get involved in any situation where you could be seen as abusing children, and report any incidents of child prostitution that you witness.
Read more: About Child Prostitution in Cambodia: Facts
1. Protect yourself and the children:
Don’t be foolish: Don’t take children home or in your room
- Many tourists are put in critical situations for having taken a child to their room to give them a shower, some food, etc.
- What to do? Refer children to organizations working with vulnerable children
Avoid places that tolerate prostitution
- By patronizing a place that allows prostitution, you condone and support prostitution in Cambodia
- What to do: Patronize the services of businesses that actively support our child protection policy. We provide lists of destinations in Cambodia that are safe, and will make your stay in Cambodia more enjoyable
Do not beinvolved in prostitution
- By seeking sex for money, you not only put yourself at risk but can also abuse children, often minors work as prostitutes and lie about their real age.
- What to do: Enjoy the country for all its beauty and don’t put yourself in a situation where you can bring back illnesses as souvenirs, extend your vacation in a Cambodian prison, or get caught in your own country.
Refuse to go with any moto-taxi or individuals who offer you sexual access to child prostitution.
- Some individuals you will meet might offer you various illegal or dangerous services including drugs and prostitution.
- What to do: Tell them clearly that you are not interested, and stop using their services immediately. Many honest Cambodians will be willing to show you the real treasures of their country
React if you see any situation where a child might be in danger or in a abusive situation
- Many tourists are witness to potentially dangerous situations to children. Some are not able to recognize such situations, other feel helpless to do anything.
- What to do: Confront the situation, but be careful for your own safety—don’t do it alone. Report to the relevant authorities/organization (in person, by telephone, websites, and mailing lists) any case of child abuse you might witness.
2. Help children avoid dangerous situations:
Do not buy anything from children on the streets:
- Many tourists and expatriates feel pity for the children selling various products (e.g., flowers, newspapers, shoeshines). By buying products/services from children, you support a business that puts children at high risk; children are out at night until late and are working in hazardous places (e.g., bars, discos)
- Most of the children are forced into work and racketed for the money they earn. All have an adult waiting for them outside and could do the job themselves without involving children (it is just so much easier using a child…).
- By providing them with an income, it hinders organizations that work with these families to encourage alternative and safe sources of income.
- Children might say that they work to pay for their studies: surveys show that this is something to say to make a sale.
- What to do: Refrain from buying with a smile. If you want to help, support the Cambodian social workers that work with these children
Don’t give money to children/parents with young children:
- In markets and other tourist destinations, you will be confronted by many beggars, many of them children or adults with infants. Many of the mothers with young children actually “rented” the child for the day from his/her real parents. Many hurt the child to provoke a sense of pity.
- By giving these beggars money, you encourage them to stay on the streets and prevent Cambodian social workers from persuading them to alternatives to street life.
- Furthermore, children will often use your money to buy drugs.
- Giving them food has the same results as it maintains children on the streets, and the children get to keep the money they make to buy drugs.
- What to do: Refrain from giving money and food to children. Encourage them to join services (or if you know the services, take them with you to these places). Give them a smile.
- Think and act wisely, and you can make a difference. Every time you make the right decision you give a child a better chance at life.
- For more information on traveling in Cambodia please check out the British Embassy’s Travel Advice page by clicking here.