Scenic takeover left
Scenic takeover left

Will you admit the 'cost' of the holiday you sell?

It's time for a new 'ism' in travel - a word that raises awareness of child exploitation in destination often populated with Australian tourists.

It’s time for a new ‘ism’ in travel – a word that raises awareness of child exploitation in destination often populated with Australian tourists.


The success of the ecotourism movement extends beyond lodges in rainforests that only use solar power, recirculated water, no soap and invites you to bring armpit hair in abundance. Every time you stay in a hotel is a small note that says something to the effects of if you throw this towel on the ground not only will we wash it but you will be solely responsible for the destruction of the earth.

It’s a nice touch, saves water, saves pollution, saves the hotel a little bit of money. Awareness raised. A big tick.

So along with ecotourism and sustainable tourism, there needs to be a new ‘ism’ in travel and that is the human cost and how tourism might be contributing to the degradation of the human experience for those in that area.

It’s often only affordable for us to go on holiday if that country has a significantly lower standard of living than we do. The cheapest places to holiday are typically those where an unacceptable proportion of people live below the poverty line. The lower the socio-economic area, the greater the opportunities for police corruption, gang activity and unfortunately, extortion, slavery and sexual abuse of kids.


Fact: Australians travel to Asia to sexually exploit children

child protection

The Australian Federal Police revealed 250 convicted Australian child sex offenders travelled to the Philippines last year.

The latest figures, previously undisclosed to the public, show that 18 percent of all sex offenders, that’s 25 a month, visit Indonesia.

Northern Bali is corrupt and impoverished and now one of the top three places for child sexploitation to occur. It’s on every corner. Australians are grossly over-represented there.

Maybe I am being too hard on singling out one destination.  But while let’s think about who says ‘I’ve been to Bali too’.

They still have the two finger test for women in the military, I am not convinced. The commander of Indonesia’s armed forces, General Moeldoko doesn’t perceive a problem: “It’s a good thing, so why criticise it… no other way to determine the morality of a female”.


So does a travel agent have a moral investment in the places they send their customers?

travel agent

Because, statistically speaking, travel agents, most of whom in Australia are female, are sending people to places where an exceptionally high incidence of child sexual abuse occurs which is monitored in part by Armed Forces that digitally rape female staff before they get a job. Or marry someone getting a job.

Maybe I’m just being sensitive because of a daughter. How about you, do any of you have daughters?

No, it’s not just Indonesia. Let’s look at these top 10 destinations for Australian paedophiles; Denpasar; Singapore; Bangkok; Kuala Lumpur; Auckland; Nadi; Hong Kong; Manila; Dubai; and Wellington – (Auckland and Wellington is interesting – I’m going to guess more gateway cities).

So one way you can look at it is to say – “well, it’s dodgy in so many places… they will just buy the ticket elsewhere”.

Or are you learning enough about the places you are sending your people? Sure, you can ignore it, maybe start an initiative that helps preserve a rare flower in some foreign countryside. Or you could do something that possibly, could just make the world a better place for one child. Even one child. Now that would be impressive.


How it can change

Project Karma

“The number of children entering the trade has grown. Efforts to combat this problem have not succeeded despite pouring money into overseas governments.”

The focus of Project Karma is to break the Organised Crime networks that create and supply a market of children for sexual exploitation.

It shouldn’t be that hard to fund a charity that saves kids. This is a horrible topic. It’s why roomsXML and KarryOn are getting behind Project Karma. Stick with us, keep reading these articles, if you can bring yourself even just to donate a little bit that would be great.

But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Stay tuned.

So, how much do you know about the destinations you’re sending your clients?