The Child Wise Tourism Program
Australians have been identified as travelling sex offenders in at least 25 countries and as the largest group of sex tourists prosecuted in Thailand (31% of the total) [John Hopkins University and The Protection Project, 2007].
As such, the Australian Government has recently strengthened laws to combat child sexual exploitation. The new laws ensure that Australians who travel overseas to sexually abuse children will not escape the tough penalties they would have received if the offences were committed at home. Click here for more information about current laws.
Developed in 1998, the Child Wise Tourism (CWT) program is Child Wise’s longest running overseas program operating across South East Asia. The program was developed in response to requests for assistance from governments, NGO’s and the tourism sector in the ASEAN region to address the growing problem of child sex tourism. The goal of the project is to support regional governments, tourism authorities and police to take the lead in establishing policy and practices which prevent child sex tourism and other forms of child sexual exploitation. The project also aims to ensure a protective environment for children in tourism destinations, which assists in preventing child sex tourism.
Over the last 12 years Child Wise has implemented the Child Wise Tourism program in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. Child Wise Tourism has placed Australia in a partnership role with our ASEAN member neighbours to develop child safe tourism mechanisms. Through the implementation of Child Wise Tourism, Child Wise has established strong operational relationships with National Tourism Administrations (NTAs), the tourism industry, local and international NGOs, multilateral organisations, regional bodies, academics, the private sector and law enforcers. The Child Wise Tourism program has fostered action through a country-specific approach that is grounded in unified regional goals enabling regional level comparison, cooperation and collaboration. The Program incorporates a wide range of development partners including NGOs, law enforcement, tourism authorities, remote communities, minority groups, the private sector and the tourism industry. These stakeholders have come together in regional education campaigns, forums, meetings and follow-ups to work towards the sustainability of programs to prevent child sex tourism in the region.