Staements & Policy Documents on Child Protection

Global Code of Ethics for Tourism



UNWTO Statement on the Prevention of Organized Sex Tourism

Resolution A/RES/338 (XI), Adopted by the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization at its eleventh session
Cairo, Egypt, 17-22 October 1995

"Whereas the WTO Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code (Sofia, 1985) calls on States and individuals to prevent any possibility of using tourism to exploit others for prostitution purposes;

Having consulted international and national organizations concerned, both governmental and non-governmental, as well as the representatives of the tourism sector;

Considering the preoccupation of the international community over the persistence of organized sex tourism which, for the purpose of this statement, can be defined as "trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination";

Aware of the grave health as well as social and cultural consequences of this activity for both tourist receiving and sending countries, especially when it exploits gender, age, social and economic inequality at the destination visited;

The General Assembly

  • Rejects all such activity as exploitative and subversive to the fundamental objectives of tourism in promoting peace, human rights, mutual understanding, respect for all peoples and cultures, and sustainable development;
  • Denounces and condemns in particular child sex tourism, considering it a violation of Article 34 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989), and requiring strict legal action by tourist sending and receiving countries;
  • Requests governments of both tourist sending and receiving countries to
  • Mobilize their competent departments, including National Tourism Administrations, to undertake measures against organized sex tourism;
  • Gather evidence of organized sex tourism and encourage education of concerned government officials and top executives in the tourism sector about the negative consequences of this activity;
  • Issue guidelines to the tourism sector insisting that it refrains from organizing any forms of sex tourism, and from exploiting prostitution as a tourist attraction;
  • Establish and enforce, where applicable, legal and administrative measures to prevent and eradicate child sex tourism, in particular through bilateral agreements to facilitate, inter alia, the prosecution of tourists engaged in any unlawful sexual activity involving children and juveniles;
  • Assist intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned in taking action against organized forms of sex tourism;
  • Appeals to donor countries, aid agencies and other sources of finance to engage in tourism development projects seeking to enhance and diversify the supply of tourism services at the destinations affected by sex tourism, so as to foster employment opportunities in the tourism sector, develop its linkages with other sectors of the national economy, and contribute to tourism's social and economic sustainability;
  • Commends the tourism companies and tourism industry organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations such as ECPAT, which have already undertaken measures against sex tourism, in particular with respect to the sexual exploitation of children and juveniles;
  • Appeals to the travel trade to
  1. Join efforts and cooperate with non-governmental organizations to eliminate organized sex tourism, at both the origin and destination of travel flows, by identifying and focusing on the critical points at which this activity can proliferate;
  2. Educate staff about the negative consequences of sex tourism, including its impact on the image of the tourism sector and tourist destinations, and invite staff to find ways to remove commercial sex services from the tourism offer;
  3. Develop and strengthen professional codes of conduct and industry self-regulatory mechanisms against the practice of sex tourism;
  4. Adopt practical, promotional and commercial measures, such as, for example, positive self-identification of enterprises which refrain from engaging in sex tourism; banning commercial sex services, in particular involving children, on the contracted tourism premises; providing information to travellers about health risks of sex tourism, etc.;
  5. Warn tourists particularly against engaging in child sex tourism, denouncing its criminal nature and the manner in which children are forced into prostitution;
  6. Encourage the media to assist the tourism sector in its action to uncover, isolate, condemn and prevent all organized forms of sex tourism;
  • Invites countries and their tourism entities to contribute to the World Congress on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, organized jointly by the Swedish Government and UNICEF, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, in August 1996."

Joint Statement by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and UNWTO on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism

Presented at Yokohama on 17 December 2001


"IATA and WTO are sensitive to the formally expressed wishes of our respective membership to deter child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.

Our organizations take particular account of the WTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism (Santiago, Chile 1999) which clearly states that "the exploitation of human beings in any form, particularly sexual, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism and is the negation of tourism".

We also recall the IATA AGM Final Resolution Condemning Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (1996) and the WTO Statement on the Prevention of Organized Sex Tourism (1995).

It is absolutely clear from the above policy declarations that the leaders of our respective constituencies are convinced that the well being of children has to be respected and protected everywhere.

We take the opportunity of this Second World Congress Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (Yokohama) to urge those in positions of power and authority to take specific measures to counter sexual exploitation of children, by adapting their legislation to criminalize child sex abuse and introducing extraterritorial prosecution, in particular through the reinforcement of judicial cooperation between States and the designation of national focal points.

We, for our part, will continue to encourage airlines and other international travel organizations, including airport authorities, to multiply their awareness-raising efforts towards passengers, especially by means of articles in in-flight magazines and by screening in-flight video clips or other spots in airport passenger lounges, departure gates and on airport buses.

We and our respective organizations favour actions by the tourism industry, in particular the adoption of self-regulatory measures, such as codes of conduct and good practices, to complement existing legislation, as well as the education and training of staff at home and at tourism destinations.

Our two organizations will continue to work for closer public-private tourism-sector partnerships at national, regional and international levels to jointly combat sexual offences on minors in travel and tourism networks and call upon all tourism stakeholders to effectively support the international campaign for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in tourism.

It is our sincere hope that by our actions, we shall help those engaged in carrying out the measures needed to advance the above policies and that we shall encourage others to add their strength to this alliance. "

See also:

Back to Protection of Children in Tourism

Go to the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism

Go to the Protect Children Campaign