Hope is on the horizon for tackling orphanage trafficking

Chloe Setter - Thomson Reuters Foundation News

In this piece for Thomson Reuters Foundation News, Lumos Senior Advisor, Chloe Setter, writes about recent strides made to include orphanage trafficking in the UK's Modern Slavery Act. According to Setter, several charities recently gave evidence to an independent review of the Act "about their experiences of orphanage trafficking and urged the UK to do more to examine the roles its citizens play in perpetuating the orphanage 'industry' through donations, volunteering and tourism. The review has now responded with a recommendation for policy guidance to respond to emerging issues, such as orphanage trafficking, and to ensure the Modern Slavery Act is robust enough to cover this type of exploitation."

The article references efforts made in other countries to "block the exploitation of children in orphanages," highlighting the inclusion of orphanage trafficking in the Modern Slavery Act which was signed into law in Australia in 2018, the mention of orphanage trafficking in the 2018 US Trafficking in Persons Report, which "dedicated a whole section to the risk to children in institutions," and the recent debate held in the Dutch Parliament on orphanage tourism and its link to child trafficking. "Momentum is growing to make people aware of the fundamental harm of orphanages, the risk of trafficking and the need to instead invest in family-based care," says Setter.

"Yet with the UK claiming to be ‘world leaders’ on tackling modern slavery, Lumos and its partners are calling on the government to take a strong stand against orphanage trafficking. With improved public awareness, investment in family-based care and policy guidance, we can begin to end institutionalisation and stop children being commodified in the name of charity."