A MODELING agency last night defended its plans to stage a “vacation trip” for its models to a Sihanoukville orphanage, amid criticism on its Facebook page that the event was effectively “orphanage tourism”.
Sun Super Models Cambodia sparked outrage from a number of Facebook users last night after posting an advertisement for the trip – which was to begin tomorrow and also includes a beach party – replete with a list of supposed sponsors.
In response, one Facebook user posted a link to a website explaining the negative effects of orphanage tourism, while another said the phenomenon should be banned altogether.
But Men Nimum Roat, manager of Sun Super Models Cambodia, said his agency has been on a number of such trips to orphanages before and he couldn’t understand the fuss.
“I want to ensure my models are not just modelling, but also sharing with and helping the poor,” he said. “It’s not the first time I’ve taken them there with gifts … for the children.”
According to the Think Child Safe website, run by Friends-International, research shows that “orphanage tourism, often conducted by unscrupulous business operators, does more to harm, rather than help child protection, rights and education standards”.