Australians could soon be leading the way in becoming the world’s first in making it a crime for its citizens to donate or volunteer at any orphanages.
Bondi woman Tara Winkler who has been advocating the change has finally received a breakthrough after her message was heard in a senate inquiry earlier in the month.
Ms Winkler this is because 80 percent of the eight million children living in orphanages actually have parents or families living elsewhere but were placed in such institutions to exploit unwitting donors, 60 Minutes reports.
Bondi woman Tara Winkler (pictured) first visited Cambodia in 2005 as a 19-year-old traveller
‘Many children have been taken from their families and imprisoned in orphanages where they are being exploited,’ Ms Winkler told the program.
‘That is trafficking, it is also a form of modern day slavery.
‘Australia has played a role in fuelling this problem so I believe we have a responsibility to help solve it.’
Ms Winkler first travelled to Cambodia in 2005 when she was 19-year-old during a backpacking trip.
When she saw the extent of poverty in Cambodia, she told the program last year in an interview that she ‘vowed to rescue as many kids as she could.’
It was then she set up her own charity and home, the Cambodian Children’s Trust in 2007, rescuing 14 orphans from a corrupt and abusive orphanage in Battambang.
Ms Tara Winkler (far left) explaining the situation in detail to a senate inquiry earlier this month
Her bold efforts bagged her the NSW Young Australian of the Year award in 2011.
However, as she became more fluent in Khmer, the country’s official language, and spoke with the children in her orphanage, they started revealing facts about themselves.
Ms Winkler realised they many ‘orphans’ had families but were sent to orphanages to get them out of poverty.
Many Cambodian children actually have parents and families who are able to care for them
However, she soon learned that the best way to deal with the problem was to advocate for all orphanages to be closed.
Since then Ms Winkler has been working hard on her dream to shut orphanages as she doesn’t want any children growing up in such institutions.
Ms Winkler’s has since transformed her orphanage into a NGO which provides a range of services to the children such as educational workshops but with the firm intent of sending them back to their place of domicile at night.