Once the domain of international NGO’s, like CUSO or Peace Corps, overseas volunteering has privatized and gone mainstream, attracting millions of young travelers. "Volunteers Unleashed" follows volunteers to South America, Southeast Asia and Africa, showing how “voluntourism” has become the fastest growing and the most contentious travel sector.
Leading this story is 22 year old Pippa Biddle, who after a series of voluntourism experiences over 6 years, posted a critical blog. It went viral, with over 15 million hits, and instantly launched her as the poster child against privileged young white women volunteering overseas.
In Tanzania we follow a new intake of western volunteers as they travel, party and volunteer. Among them are volunteers eager for experience who find themselves beyond their depth and potentially risking a patient's life.
In Cambodia, a former UK Police Detective Eric Meldrum, and investigative reporter Juliana Ruhfus, show the link between the volunteers working in orphanages, and the exploitation of the very children they have come to help. In an Ecuador animal refuge, we see a profit-driven voluntourism company prey on volunteers’ good intentions.
Volunteers Unleashed shows dramatically that going overseas with good intentions, does not guarantee good will be done.
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