Volunteer tourism in Cambodian residential care facilities-A child rights-based approach
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionThe International Journal of Children's Rights. 2018, 26 (4), 808-836. 10.1163/15718182-02604006
Cambodia has experienced a rapid and uncontrolled increase in the institutionalisation of children in the last decade. In this article, we analyse the impact of volunteer tourism on children’s wellbeing in residential care facilities in Cambodia by employing a child rights-based approach. Four articles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child are chosen as framework to analyse two bodies of documents. We engage in critical reflections on the impact of volunteer tourism on children’s wellbeing in residential care institutions in Cambodia as it is regulated, described and reported. We provide a critical stance on current debates about the reasons behind institutionalisation; the various linkages between institutionalisation and volunteer tourism to care facilities; the (lack of) competence, training and stability of volunteer tourists in care facilities; the interface between volunteer tourism and corruption; and the ways in which institutionalisation and volunteer tourism reinforce and are reinforced by predominant Western ideas and ideals about childhood.