Stealing a generation: Cambodia's unfolding tragedy

posted Apr 6, 2013, 7:47 PM by Christina C.
by Lindsay Murdoch, South-East Asia correspondent for Fairfax Media in the Sydney Morning Herald

Dozens of orphanages in Cambodia, including some run by Australians, have been accused of exploiting children to attract donations.

The government in Phnom Penh is cracking down on the booming multimillion-dollar orphanage industry after investigators discovered shocking abuses of children and a list has been compiled of centres targeted for raids and closure.


About 72 per cent of the 10,000 children living in Cambodia's estimated 600 orphanages have a parent, although most are portrayed as orphans to capitalise on the goodwill of foreign tourists and volunteers, including thousands of Australians, research shows.

Up to 300 of these centres are operating illegally and flouting a push by government and United Nations agencies for children to be reunited with their parents.

The managers of several respected Australian-run orphanages are alarmed by the situation and note that the number of orphanages has increased 65 per cent in the past five years while the number of orphans has reduced dramatically as Cambodia recovered from genocide, invasion and an AIDS epidemic.

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