- Global Code of Ethics for Tourism
- Areas of work
28th meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
8 March 2013
14:00 - 17:30
International Conference Center (ICC), Hall 7
The World Tourism Network on Child Protection convened for its 28th meeting on the 8th of March 2013 in the context of the ITB Berlin International Tourism Fair. With a view towards exchanging information, experiences and best practices on the protection of children in tourism, the Network operates as a global platform of the sector’s key-players, drawing together governments, the tourism industry, international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and media associations.
The central focus of the Network's 28th meeting was a special session on “Information Communication Technologies: Protection of Children in Tourism”. The meeting further featured a reporting session, affording representatives of national tourism administrations, the tourism industry, NGOs and specialised media outlets an opportunity to report on new projects concerning child protection in tourism.
Report of the twenty-eight meeting of the
World Tourism Network on Child Protection
(formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism)
(ITB, Berlin, Germany, 8 March 2013)
1. The World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism) held its 28th meeting in Berlin on 8 March 2013, in the context of the ITB Tourism Fair. Attended by over 60 delegates, the meeting featured a special session on “Information Communication Technologies: Protection of Children in Tourism”. The event further featured a reporting session in which representatives of governments, international organisations, the tourism industry, and NGOs related information on projects concerned with the protection of children in tourism.
2. Dr. Dawid De Villiers, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Network, welcomed the participants and expressed his satisfaction at seeing so many familiar faces. He noted that, given the current financial problems, many people were not able to attend ITB and the present gathering. Dr. De Villiers then gave the floor to Mr. Zoltan Somogyi, UNWTO Executive Director for Member Relations and Services.
3. Mr. Zoltan Somogyi, stressed the importance of child protection in tourism, and of preventing, combating, and eradicating child exploitation throughout the sector. He remarked on the great importance of tourism as a global phenomenon, with international arrivals projected to soar to 1.8 billion by 2030, nearly twice the 1 billion arrivals registered in 2012. This growth not only entails extensive economic benefits, he said, but also implies important challenges and responsibilities. Without concerns for sustainability, he cautioned, tourism infrastructure can be misused for ends like the exploitation and abuse of children. To mitigate such damaging potential risk, amongst others, UNWTO formulated the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, which was endorsed by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999 and the UN General Assembly in 2001. A guide for responsible and sustainable tourism development, it states that “the exploitation of human beings in any form, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism and is the negation of tourism” (Article 2.3). Mr. Somogyi stressed the need to speak openly about this issue, and above all, to act decisively. He explained that UNWTO’s Child Protection Network has served as a forum for the exchange of experiences on the issue of child exploitation for sixteen years, most of which was under the Chairmanship of Dr. De Villiers. He credited the body with helping to facilitate partnerships between the public and the private sectors, promote cooperation between tourist generating and destination countries, and encourage collaboration between the tourism industry and civil society.
4. Mr. Somogyi observed that the development of new technologies has gone hand in hand with the rise of the tourism sector, and will continue to increase exponentially in the future. He argued that, although such technologies, particularly the internet, can be misused by criminals to exploit children they can also be used to fight exploitation. He recalled the role they have to play in awareness raising, spreading messages on child protection in tourism to travellers, tourism policy makers, and service providers worldwide. They can be used to educate and train individuals to respond to the problem.
5. Dr. De Villiers elaborated on the Network’s past and importance, recalling that, in 1996, ECPAT approached UNWTO with a request to facilitate meetings on the subject of child protection. This prompted the first meeting of the “Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism” in 1997, and has been followed by further 28 meetings at ITB Berlin and at WTM London. Since 2008, meetings have taken place annually at ITB. Since 2003, 173 presentations have been given by 23 governments, 11 international and regional organizations, 17 non-governmental organizations, 9 tourism associations, 16 tourism industry companies, 3 members of the media, 1 representative of an academic institution, and 3 consultants, many of whom presented on various occasions. Stressing the difficulties in initially encouraging participation in the Network, given that many ignored the fact that child exploitation in tourism exists, he welcomed the growing support for the network and emphasized the importance of activities on the ground in terms of the progress made to date. Dr. De Villiers made clear that the problem of child abuse affects communities in every single country in the world, persists across time and must be dealt with unrelenting severity. Referring to an article published in The Times on the 6th of March, 2013, he noted that cases exist even in the United Kingdom, with the number of victims now considered to be considerably higher than previously thought. This calls into question the way the matter is being investigated and prosecuted and highlights the need for urgent measures to counter the problem in the UK and other developed countries. He concluded his remarks by announcing UNWTO Secretariat had selected some 15 exemplary cases presented at past meetings of the Network for inclusion in a brochure that will be made available online. Dr. de Villiers then introduced the theme of the special session; “Information Communication Technologies: Protection of Children in Tourism”, and gave the floor to, Mr. Jürgen Steinmetz, member of the Network’s Executive Committee and a specialist in communication technology.
SPECIAL SESSION: “INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES: PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM”
6. Mr. Jürgen Steinmetz expressed his delight that the same participants come back to the Network’s meeting every year, but regretted that the group is not broader and that the topic does not get the attention it deserves. Lamenting that limited, and sometimes even declining, funding impeded planned initiatives such as the launching of the Network’s web portal. He urged UNWTO to do more to support the Network, highlighting technology as a means of doing this inexpensively and effectively. Mr Steinmetz then announced that his colleague, Ms. Sandy Dhuyvetter, would moderate the session.
7. Ms. Sandy Dhuyvetter, Executive Producer and Host of Travel Talk Media, introduced her background as a journalist active in travel media and explained her involvement with NGOs such as Airline Ambassadors International, which provides relief to under-privileged communities worldwide and trains airline employees to respond to phenomena like Human Trafficking. She then gave the floor to the session’s speakers.
8. Mr. Peter Davies, Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), explained that his organization is a law enforcement-lead child protection centre affiliated with the UK National Crime Agency. CEOP works with law enforcement in the UK and partners around the world (law enforcement, NGO and the private sector) to protect children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in the UK as well as abroad, since child abuse is sometimes perpetrated by British citizens in other regions. He explained that CEOP’s work is based on the three P’s: “Prevention”, “Protection” and “Pursuit”, and that a fourth P could also be added: “Partnership”. The threats CEOP covers are both online and offline, as both worlds cannot be disentangled. Serious online child sexual abuse includes possessing and distributing indecent images of children, whereas two offline areas include (1) cases of sexual child abuse in the UK, as referred to by Mr. Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK in The Times article of 6th of March 2013 mentioned by Dr. De Villiers, and (2) “transnational child sexual abuse”, formerly designated as “traveling sex offenders”. Mr. Davies stressed that, although tourism can play an important role in the perpetration of child exploitation, there are other factors which are often less understood. Some of the people who pose the greatest danger for children in many countries aren’t tourists but residents, embedding themselves in communities, often in positions of trust (ex: teachers, public authorities, etc.) and using this as a means of access to vulnerable children. A new phenomenon we are dealing with, Mr. Davies said, is technology-enabled international child abuse. He gave two examples from 2012: (1) Some 80 teenagers, mainly girls, had their Facebook accounts hijacked and were blackmailed into performing sexual acts on webcam, in order to regain control of their Facebook accounts. CEOP traced the offenders, located in Kuwait. They never left their country, never met any of their victims, and deployed technical means to target vulnerable children and young people in another part of the world for their gratification. Thanks to the collaboration of the local authorities, the offenders were brought to justice and are currently in prison in Kuwait. (2) Another example where the threat emanates from the UK (or other countries) and abuse takes place in other parts of the world is the example of an organized crime group in the Philippines, which has arranged for the paid abuse of children online. Abusers pay to select a child, decide what kind of abuse the victim will suffer, have it performed and have the video streamed back to them. This kind of abuse is extremely harmful and must be tackled, Mr. Davies emphasized, just as any form of child abuse. What is apparent from such examples, he highlighted, is that the very nature of child sex abuse is changing. These changes have to be understood and kept up with. The CEO of CEOP concluded by giving an example of the Centre’s recent prevention initiatives, notably the recently launched International Child Protection Certificate, which enables any employer to get a criminal record check done of a UK national before they are employed (CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check). Mr. Davies recommended that organizations check their future UK employees in this way in order to minimize the risk of child abuse.
9. Mr. Bakri, Director of Society Empowerment of Tourism Destinations of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, spoke of efforts to prevent sexual exploitation of children in his country’s tourism sector. He pointed out that the occurrence of the sexual exploitation of children is rising, partly due to the growing importance of information technologies, and given certain legislative actions in Indonesia concerning freedom of information. In 2012, there were 63 million internet users in the country who are mostly young people. Children have become more vulnerable to cybercrime since ICT now has a prominent place in their private lives. Most parents are internet illiterate, and are not aware that their children might be exposed to sexual crime on the internet. Mr. Bakri highlighted measures taken by the government to fight child abuse, referring especially to Law 11 (2008) on Electronic Information and Transaction, Law 44 (2008) on Pornography, and Law 23 (2002) on Child Protection. As the sexual exploitation of children is considered a severe crime in Indonesia, the Government has launched several campaigns involving tourism industry and NGO partners, aimed at actively involving society in child protection programs such as the “Wise While Online Campaign” of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. The Ministry of Tourism supports the efforts of provincial and regional tourism authorities to counter child sexual abuse in destinations including Bali, Jakarta, Lombok, Batam, North Sulawesi and North Sumatra through stricter control of the employment of young persons (under the age of 18) in tourism businesses (such as karaoke clubs, massage and spa parlous, restaurants, bars, and hotels) and with regards to instances of sexual abuse in hotels. Further actions have included the signature of the Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics by tourism industry stakeholders (September 2012), a campaign against the sexual exploitation of children, sanctioning tourism business involved in the exploitation of children, and legal punishment for perpetrators of child sexual abuse. In 2012, an investigation in three areas in Indonesia was carried out in collaboration with ECPAT, which brought to light 94 cases of children whose identity was falsified and who were forced to work in tourism businesses. Speaking of online cases of child abuse, Mr. Bakri mentioned research undertaken by the Facebook Indonesia in 2012 which shows that a trend is evolving toward online sex purchasing, with 18,747 images of children to be trafficked uploaded on the page - the highest figure in the Asian Region. Mr. Bakri concluded by emphasizing the Ministry’s work and noting that, while child abuse may never cease to exist, the task of all partners is to at least reduce the problem significantly. Presentation of Mr. Bakri
10. Ms. Aarti Kapoor, Regional Program Manager of Project Childhood at the Prevention Pillar of AusAid/World Vision, Australia, spoke of understanding the ICT risks to children and the ways to keep them safe, focusing particularly on Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Project Childhood, she explained, is a 3.5 year project of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) aimed at combatting the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. Its “Protection Pillar” works on law enforcement and criminal justice, and is being implemented by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). World Vision is responsible for the implementation of the “Prevention Pillar”, which includes raising awareness about child sexual abuse in tourism through training and education campaigns. World Vision works at five different levels across the four countries: (1) community resilience in tourism destinations, (2) national helplines and ICT portals to support children’s access to help, (3) public and private sector response through a campaign for tourists and travellers on Child Safe Tourism, and through training for the tourism sector, (4) assistance to governments and (5) international advocacy and knowledge sharing. She then explained how ICT is being used in the four South-East Asian countries, noting the popularity of mobile phones over fixed lines and of internet cafes and shared hubs over fixed broadband. She pointed out that children, including street children, are increasingly using the internet, mainly in popular tourism destinations. They mainly engage in gaming (as well as gambling, thus incurring debts), social networking (Facebook, MSN) and texting. ICT is also increasingly used by offenders, not only to groom, but also to produce child sexual abuse images, and to book abusive experiences at destinations. Offenders also increasingly meet children in internet cafes. The risk factors, Ms. Kapoor explained, include a lack of appropriate sex education at schools, the accessibility of adult pornography, and parents feeling too uncomfortable to talk about sex to their children. Additionally, the internet is often seen as ‘poison’ by parents and duty bearers, thus children while online, are far away from parental control. Finally, she underscored a general lack of education about keeping safe. World Vision’s response to this situation consists of educational interventions on preventing child sexual abuse which address children, parents, carers and duty bearers (i.e. teachers, police and social workers). Key messages relate to discrediting myths, fostering communication and sharing ideas for protective behaviour, for instance, noting that boys are as much at risk as girls, that the internet is not an evil place, that communication between parents and children has to be fostered, and that children must be encouraged to trust their instincts. Ms. Kapoor concluded that the use of the internet and ICT is a focus for the changing nature of child abuse, and that it is necessary to keep a close eye on it, build a good evidence base, and stay informed about the latest information on the issue. Presentation of Ms. Kapoor
11. Ms. Dhuyvetter inquired about the age group to which the presentation referred. Ms. Kapoor replied that it only included children between 12 and 17 since they could be interviewed without their parents present.
12. Mr. Andreas Astrup, General Manager of The Code discussed updating The Code using “Cloud Technology”. He recalled that The Code is an industry-driven, multi-stakeholder initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry in order to combat the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. Six criteria have been defined for implementation by the tourism industry to protect children from sex tourism. The Code has been very successful in campaigning, raising awareness and recruiting. Implementation, however, has been harder to achieve. This is why a new online ‘cloud’ based tool has been developed over the past year to (1) standardize work processes, (2) provide the necessary tools for easy implementation, (3) meet the demand for staff training within the travel industry, (4) reach out to new companies, including within high-risk sectors, and (5) strengthen reporting and transparency to give The Code a clear identity with attractive benefits for its members. The tool includes a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and an LCR (Local Code Representatives) Portal to which local representatives have access and can add and update data. It further consists of a Members Portal where companies can login and start implementing The Code online, alongside a new website and a scenario-based e-learning tool. Mr. Astrup explained these three facets in detail before presenting an overview of the membership process, from signing up to becoming a leading member. Apart from approving the company, the entire process is now handled automatically within the system, whereas everything previously had to be done manually by staff. This affords them far more time for recruiting new companies and supporting The Code’s current members. Presentation of Mr. Astrup
13. Ms. Dhuyvetter thanked the speakers and opened the floor to questions from the audience.
14. Ms. Alice Macek of ECPAT UK asked Mr. Davies to give examples of CEOP’s collaboration with NGOs and the travel industry in the UK and overseas. Mr. Davies pointed to the partnership with the International Child Protection Network, which is especially active in South East Asia and Eastern Europe. He expressed his hope of extending such activities in all worlds’ regions where UK citizens pose a particular threat. He also mentioned the Corporate Charter, which obliges companies to assume a certain amount of responsibility for enacting child safe policies and practices within their organization. In this context, CEOP works with organizations and companies that want to know what they can do to protect children, providing them with the necessary tools to do so. He also highlighted the International Child Protection Certificate mentioned in his presentation. In terms of working with the tourism industry, Mr. Davies underlined links with the International Child Protection Network, as well as efforts made to involve airlines in awareness-raising, especially in South East Asia.
15. Dr. de Villiers thanked the participants, before introducing the speakers of the reporting session.
16. Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha, Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF Viet Nam presented an analysis of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in various provinces and cities in Viet Nam. She introduced a recently published report as a result of the collaboration between the Vietnamese government and UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/vietnam). Ms. Nguyen expressed her special thanks to Ms. Anita Dodds who contributed to the report as an independent researcher, and to Ms. Le Thi Ha, Director of the Social Evil Prevention Department, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. Ms. Nguyen explained that, a quarter of Viet Nam’s population is under 16 years of age, some 1.6 million of whom are in need of special protection. The tourism industry is growing rapidly, with more than six million international visitors in 2012, mainly from China, South Korea, Japan, Western Europe and the US. Tourists visit both major cities and remote areas and ethnic hill tribes. Although tourism is important, the country wants to ensure its children are safe. Vietnamese laws prohibit prostitution and child sexual exploitation, but nevertheless, cases of abuse persist. A number of stakeholders were interviewed for the report, including 100 children, 50 of whom are victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The majority reported that their abusers included foreigners. Most victims were between 12 and 15 years old, both boys and girls. Child sex tourism was found to occur in all the locations researched by the Report, usually in hotels and guesthouses. Foreign sex offenders are known to operate both independently and within organised networks. In 2005 and 2006, seven offenders were arrested for sex crimes against children. Ms. Nguyen noted that ICT plays an important role in the expansion of sexual exploitation in Viet Nam since it provides new mechanisms by which foreigners and traffickers can lure victims, and disseminate indecent images of children. 14 of the child respondents reported that customers collected images of them while engaged in sex, and it is known that children have been forced to participate in ‘body show’ and ‘chat sex’. Customs officials have confiscated inbound pornography at border posts featuring children from other countries, demonstrating that abuse is a regional problem. Ms. Nguyen emphasized the need for a more comprehensive child protection system, focusing on five comprehensive areas: a policy framework, a coordination framework, legal and regulatory systems, social welfare systems, and social behaviour systems. In practical terms, this entails the establishment of a national Task Force (involving the government, the UN, NGO’s, and the private tourism sector), a private sector business forum, a form of recognition for businesses which follow protection requirements, the improvement of child protection in the digital environment, strengthening the protective capacity of families, and conducting a special campaign for young people. Following the launch of the Report, the government of Viet Nam decided to develop a national Plan of Action to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation and hoped for support from international agencies and the private sector in this regard. Presentation of Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha
17. Mr. Andreas Müseler, Chairman of the Sustainability Committee of DRV (the German Travel Association) discussed implementing The Code in the German travel industry. Noting that the protection of children from sexual exploitation is considered essential, he noted that steps have been taken to fight the phenomenon especially since tourism infrastructure (ex: hotels and airlines) is often used in this context. DRV signed The Code on behalf of its members in 2001, and established a Working Group on Child Protection with tour operators, travel agencies, NGOs, DRV members, the German police, and invited specialists. DRV’s actions consist mainly of awareness-raising activities, such as destination workshops and training, an information brochure entitled “Little Souls – Big Danger”, an in-flight spot “Witnesses”, and a tri-national campaign between Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The destination workshops consist of awareness-raising and the training of employees in destinations, aimed at teaching them how to deal with the sexual exploitation of children in tourism and the particular situations they encounter. The workshops are organized by DRV and its partners, in cooperation with local authorities, ministries, the local police and NGOs, and are considered an important platform for the exchange of experiences. The brochure “Little Souls – Big Danger”, with its simple message “Don’t look away”, contains information for travellers on the sexual exploitation of children in tourism, features the German reporting address firstname.lastname@example.org (which leads directly to the German police) and the contact details of the project partners. The brochure is distributed via travel agencies, through travel documentation, at airports, and in hotels. The in-light spot “Witnesses” is part of the tri-national campaign to counter child exploitation. It is shown on flights, the websites of travel companies, information screens, and in medical offices, and has been realized with the support of various travel industry partners (Accor Deutschland, Condor Flugdienst, Gebeco, Studiosus Reisen, TUI Deutschland, TUI Fly). Presentation of Mr. Müseler
18. Ms. Miriam Landhofer, Program Officer of the Department for Child Protection and Ethics at REWE Touristik Group - Germany’s second largest tourism company serving 6.6 million clients annually - elaborated on the subject of child protection workshops organized within REWE Touristik Hotels. Ms. Landhofer explained that she was trained by ECPAT and is now responsible for workshops on child protection training addressing management in the establishments run by REWE: Club Calimera, Lti hotels, and PrimaSol. She considers such training very important since hotel premises are often the sites of child exploitation, unless mechanisms are in place to stop this from occurring. In order to make sure these mechanisms are effective, hotels need a clear child protection policy known to every member of staff. Furthermore, staff need a clear strategy of how to react whenever there is any suspicion of child abuse. Consequently, REWE Touristik Hotels organize “train the trainer” workshops, after which managers receive a certificate and material to teach their own staff. Topics discussed during the workshops include: where Child Sex Tourism happens, the identity of offenders and victims, the types of tourism infrastructure misused to perpetrate abuse and the consequences of abuse for both victims and the society in which they live. Workshops further include discussions about national and international laws concerning sex with minors, as well as debates on the role of the tourism industry, and on what employees can do to prevent exploitation. During the workshops, different methods are employed, such as presentations, role play and working groups, with the main focus on the practical implementation of the knowledge acquired. Typical situations that can happen in any hotel are used as examples, and destination-specific role plays have been developed to cope with specific local situations, mentalities and problems. This destination-based approach has proved especially important, and constitutes one of the success factors of the programme. REWE’s aim for 2013 is to cover all its destinations, and to repeat workshops every 1-3 years in each destination. Presentation of Ms. Landhofer
19. Ms. Bharti Patel, Chief Executive Officer of ECPAT UK, discussed the 2012 Olympics Trafficking and Policy Response, asking whether London got it right and presenting an overview of the debate centred on the issue, and of the post-event research carried out by think tanks to advise governments on necessary actions. ECPAT, international children’s rights charity which campaigns for the protection of children exploited in tourism, including child victims of trafficking, is involved in monitoring, research, advocacy, awareness raising, training and supporting victims of exploitation. Child trafficking, Ms. Patel explained, is the movement of a child for the purpose of exploitation organized by traffickers. In the course of the preparations for the 2012 London Olympics, various opposing statements were made by politicians concerning the possible occurrence of child trafficking. Some opined that major sporting events can be a magnet for the global sex and trafficking industry, while others suggested that there is no strong evidence for a positive correlation between human trafficking and such events- The latter view also held that (a) visitors often come in family groups, with restricted budgets: (b) cost-benefit analysis for traffickers would be unfavourable due to the short duration of the events, (c) anti-trafficking measures are disproportionate, unnecessary or harmful and it is argued that genuine sex workers were increasingly criminalised and unable to access health and social programmes, and (d) certain NGOs opportunistically use the sport events to raise awareness to gain support for their cause. The former point of view, however, believes that (a) campaigns countering human trafficking and increased law enforcement are necessary to prevent trafficking, and (b) international sporting events can increase human trafficking due to the short-term increased demand for prostitution, construction work, and other forms of forced labour. The preparation for the Olympics started from the assumption that mega events do have an impact on trafficking. Partners involved in these preparations included the Metropolitan Police, various NGOs and the UK Border Agency. Tools were produced and disseminated by the London Safeguarding Board, and many people were trained to recognize signs of trafficking and the abuse of children, including some 70,000 volunteers. During the events, the available security force was of considerable importance. The responsible Minister admitted that the government’s own research shows trafficking is a real issue in UK, but that evidence of large scale trafficking into London as a result of the Olympics was not found. Ms. Patel indicated that it is difficult to determine whether this was a result of the measures put in place in preparation for the Games, or whether the threat simply didn’t materialise. She confirmed that the preparation made was of a high standard, but added that government policy is remains focused on short-term solutions to the phenomena, such as strengthening borders. She called for policy reform and strategic solutions to address the fundamental causes of trafficking to and within nations, and to formulate a comprehensive policy response which includes oversight, coordination and cross-departmental efforts. She advocated for the appointment of an Independent National Rapporteur to oversee policy development, assess the scale of trafficking, monitor trends and make recommendations to the government, including during high-risk events like the Olympics. Ms. Patel further suggested a system of guardianship with parental responsibility to act in the best interest of child trafficking victims, and safe accommodation for all victims with due consideration for their physical, psychological, legal, linguistic and security needs. She mentioned existing tools to prevent and eradicate child trafficking, such as The Code and its e-learning tools, as well as tools set up by individual countries. On a pan-European level, she indicated that work is being carried out on the second stage of the “Don’t Look Away” campaign, which will highlight risks during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Presentation of Ms. Patel
20. Ms. Anna Quartucci, President of T.a.T.A., Italy, presented the “Safe Host” project. Receiving support from the European Commission, the project promotes European social dialogue in taking action against the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. Ms. Quartucci highlighted the internet as an important change affecting child sex tourism, as its use makes it difficult to monitor travellers and their activities. She also indicated that by December 2015, all EU member states will have to take the necessary measures to comply with the Directive 2011/92/EU on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. She said that the private tourism sector can play a strategic role therein, and that it is consequently crucial to adopt a multi-stakeholder strategy to harmonize policies and practices within the EU. She emphasized that sustainable and responsible tourism has to be child-wise and child-safe, and put values and ethics above profits. The Safe Host project supports joint initiatives of European social partners, including trade unions and employers in the tourism sector, to combat child sexual exploitation. Additionally, an agreement between the partners on tackling child sex tourism is pursued. The specific objectives of the project are to (1) identify models of good practice for the whole tourism supply chain and methods to avoid the use of tourism channels for the purpose of child exploitation, (2) promote networking and knowledge sharing among key actors in the tourism sector, (3) strengthen synergies and exchanges between European social partners to foster the harmonization of policies and practices for the prevention of and the fight against child sex tourism, and (4) contribute to the implementation of Directive 2011/92/EU and of the Europe 2020 strategy. Ms. Quartucci elaborated on the tools used within the programme - with ECPAT as special partner - notably a Data Collection Form (DCF) to provide an overview of good practices from on preventing the use of tourism facilities for exploitative purposes, such as codes of conduct, collective agreements, social dialogue agreements, or CSR policies; a tool box to provide training and awareness-raising material for HORECA travel agency and transportation employees; guidelines for tourism companies; and a label for raising awareness to be featured on travel and accommodation contracts. She expressed her hope that the project will encourage everyone involved in the tourism sector to contribute to fighting child abuse. Presentation of Ms. Quartucci
21. Ms. Rosa Martha Brown, Founder and Director of Fundación Infantia spoke of child protection in Mexico. The main partner and contributor to the Foundation’s initiatives is the Mexican Ministry of Tourism, whom she thanked for their support. One of 2012’s main achievements was the increased commitment of the travel industry to fighting child sex tourism. The main tool used to this end was the Mexican Code of Conduct for the protection of children in tourism and travel, a document based on the international Code of Conduct with additional features to enrich its implementation (a protocol of awareness, a protocol of safe and anonymous denouncements, and a protocol of attention to children). In 2012, over 500 travel agents, companies and local governments were engaged to sign the Code. An alliance was established between the national government, Microsoft, the Human Rights Commission, the Travel Agents Union and Fundación Infantia to enhance the Code. More than 22 Marriott branches in Mexico signed and implemented the document, thereby encouraging other companies to follow suit. A training manual on the Code addressing trainers was drafted, and an alliance was initiated with taxi driver unions. They signed the Code and engaged in raising awareness aimed at both taxi drivers and users, to increase knowledge of the fact that child sex tourism is forbidden and punished by law in Mexico. Bookmarkers were printed and disseminated to restaurants, hotels, and tour operators, to familiarize their clients with the Code. Through CROC (Confederación Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesinos), the most important workers union in Mexico, Fundación Infantia trained more than 4,000 people, an effort which promises exponential results, since those trained will share their knowledge in each of their companies. Explaining the NGOs goals for 2013, Ms. Brown announced that two Mexican airlines and the National Hotel and Motel Association representing over 4,000 hotels, have agreed to sign the Code. A Protocol on denouncement is to be developed for hotels, irrespective of their size. In June 2013, an online e-learning system will be launched in cooperation with the country’s public authorities. It is expected that the Code will have more than 1,000 signatories by the end of the year. Ms. Brown explained that Fundación Infantia represents the Youth Career Initiative (YCI) in Mexico, where the programme has been implemented in hotels in Mexico City, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. In 2013, it is expected to be launched in Guadalajara and Monterrey. Mexico was the first country to introduce the issue of child trafficking within the YCI program, a campaign that has proved highly successful. An agreement signed with Starbucks Coffee has also been enriching for YCI, entailing training for young people, comparable to the training given in hotels.
22. Dr. de Villiers thanked the speakers and requested their permission to use the content of their presentations online, in order to raise awareness of their efforts. Recalling that at its last meeting the Executive Committee of the Network suggested mobilizing the media and forming a stronger partnership with them, Dr. De Villiers proposed that the theme of the Network’s 29th gathering be “Media Partnerships for the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism”, wherein media stakeholders working in television, print media, radio or the internet, would be invited to share their experiences.
- Report (pdf) of the 28th meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
- Agenda of the 28th meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
- Information on the last meeting of the Network (27th Meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection, 2012)
- Reports of the past meetings of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
- More information on the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
- More information on UNWTO's work on the Protection of Children