The term “volun-tourism” refers to a short-term volunteer experience that is combined with travel for work, study or leisure. The volunteer experience might consist of a few hours of work, purchase of a volun-tourism package from a specialised tour operator or time spent with an ongoing development or humanitarian aid project. The appearance of this new kind of “do-good” tourism is part of the general diversification of the travel industry. Increased demand has transformed volunteering into a marketable product and one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors in the tour industry market.
Volun-tourism can have a positive impact on local communities but it can also present risks, especially for children. The involvement of volun-tourists in activities that bring them into direct contact with children creates opportunities for preferential and situational sex offenders to gain access to potential victims. This tendency is further aggravated by the development of “orphanage tourism” and the opening of an increasingly large number of volunteer positions for tourists in orphanages.