Cambodia, UN launch plan to tackle fake orphanages

Cambodia, UN launch plan to tackle fake orphanages


PHNOM PENH: Cambodia launched a crackdown on bogus orphanages on Thursday, many of which are set up to attract donations from tourists, with the aim of returning about 3,500 children who were not orphans to their families, a government minister said. About 17 percent of Cambodians live below a national poverty line and some families who are too poor to look after their children send them to orphanages in the hope they will be taken care of and given an education. Many orphanages have opened over recent years, some unlicensed, unsafe and with few real orphans, raising concerns about neglect and abuse. The boom has matched a surge in foreign tourists to the Southeast Asian country, one of the world’s poorest. Some social workers have appealed to tourists to stay away from orphanages saying that so-called orphanage tourism enables child exploitation. “There are many abuses inside orphanages,” Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Sauth said in a speech at the launch of the plan.