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Cultural exchange is a gamble.
Definition of gamble provided by Random House, Inc.: to stake or risk money on the outcome of something involving chance.
Definition of cultural exchange according to the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students: to stake or risk money on the outcome of something involving children.
SPLC Report: State Department cultural exchange program hijacked by U.S. Employers, used for cheap labor | Southern Poverty Law Center -- 02/11/2014
SPLC Calls on US to Reform Exchange Programs -- 02/11/2014
by HOLBROOK MOHR Associated Press. Associated Press writer Mitch Weiss contributed to this report.
CSFES is a California-based 501(c)3 non-profit corporation (EIN 43-2100110) advocating the safety, protection and well being of exchange students around the world and was instrumental in the strengthening of the U.S. Department of State regulations for the protection of these young people.
CSFES raises public awareness and provides education related to the safety of exchange students to prospective and current, exchange students natural parents and school
administrators, with a specific focus on educating exchange organizations and government agencies to ensure the protection of exchange students around the world.
Presently we are an all-volunteer organization advocating for the safety of foreign exchange students.
CSFES supports cultural exchange and is committed to the idea that every foreign student deserves a safe and memorable exchange experience. We believe without reservation that while these sons and daughters are studying abroad, they should expect and fully deserve, to be treated as if they are our own.
As an organization, CSFES strives for cooperative relationships with exchange programs, based on the explicit understanding that CSFES will always prioritize exchange student safety above all other concerns.
Given this understanding, CSFES sees the following issues as specific cause for concern exchange students should:
- Never depart from their home country without a properly screened host family awaiting their arrival.
- Be apprised of a completed High School Permission Form prior to leaving their home country.
- Know whether they will be attending a public or private high school prior to departure.
- Not be placed in the homes of convicted criminals.
- Not not be forced to live in the home of their area representative.
- Not be expected to live in homes lacking basic standards of cleanliness.
- Have the telephone number of the U.S. Department of State in case of emergency.
- Be fully apprised of their rights as visitors in this country.
- Be sufficiently educated on all Child Protection Guidelines.
- Not be coerced to write letters/sign agreements that they do not fully understand.
- Never be sent home early without an accompanying review process.
- Not be made to fear being sent back to their home country for voicing their concerns.
If you are an exchange student with concerns about your safety, please contact CSFES 760-583-9593 or BeSafe@csfes.org. All international visitors may also contact local law enforcement agencies in the event of an emergency by dialing 911.
Anyone who suspects suspicious behavior or maltreatment of foreign exchange students, please report it to the proper authorities or CSFES at Complaint@csfes.org.
CSFES monitors exchange student abuse and provides information to interested parties in an effort to significantly reduce the number of children who become victims of child/sexual abuse, neglect and extortion.
As such, we encourage contact from schools, parents, exchange students. Even if there are no apparent problems, being aware and informed are the keys to prevention.