As a global company, we have put a range of measures in place to protect children and their families from harm and exploitation. These values extend to our suppliers, partners and travellers.
We recognise that tourism has the potential to increase the risk of harm to children, and feel a strong sense of responsibility to disallow this on any of our trips, through our Child Protection Policy.
While violations of a child’s right to protection take place in every country in the world, some children are more vulnerable than others. Children living in poverty, in areas of high tourism, without parental care, or in conflict with the law are most at risk. Risks to their welfare can include violence, commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour and harmful traditional practices.
Intrepid does not take part in activities such school or orphanage visits. We took an industry leadership role on orphanage tourism in 2016; removing these visits from all our trips. Despite travellers’ good intentions, orphanage visits can perpetuate a system where children are unnecessarily separated from their families and, in some cases, abused.
We are a member of the Rethink Orphanages Steering Group, a cross-sector network aimed at preventing the unnecessary institutionalisation of children, and raising awareness of the impacts of orphanage tourism.
Similarly, we don’t operate ‘voluntourism’ itineraries. While there are many excellent volunteer agencies around the world, we recognise that voluntourism can be detrimental to children, and that it may remove job opportunities from locals.
We also discourage our travellers from buying from children or offering them gifts, as this may encourage a culture of begging and promote the belief that all tourists are safe.