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World Tourism Network on Child Protection - 27th meeting (Formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism)
9 March 2012
14:30 - 17:30
International Conference Center (ICC), Hall 7
The World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism) convened for its 27th meeting in Berlin, Germany on the 9th of March 2012, in conjunction with this year’s edition of the ITB Berlin International Tourism Fair.
The body’s 2012 gathering focused on a special session on young workers in the tourism sector, jointly organized by UNWTO and the International Labour Organization (ILO), more specifically, its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC). The meeting also featured a reporting session, affording tourism stakeholders the opportunity to report on new projects concerning child protection in tourism.
With a view towards exchanging information, experiences and best practices on the protection of children in tourism, this open-ended operates as a global platform of the sector’s key-players, drawing together governments, the tourism industry, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and media associations.
Originally established in 1997, the Network's mandate was broadened as of 2007 to the prevention of all potential forms of youth exploitation within the tourism sector (i.e. sexual exploitation, child labour and trafficking, etc.). Its name was officially changed from "Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism" to the "World Tourism Network on Child Protection" in 2011, as the term “network” was felt to better reflect the nature of the body.
Report of the twenty-seventh meeting of the
World Tourism Network on Child Protection
(formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism)
(ITB, Berlin, Germany, 9 March 2013)
1. The World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism) held its 27th meeting in Berlin on 9 March 2012, in conjunction with annual edition of the ITB Tourism Fair. Attended by over 70 delegates, the meeting featured a special session on “Young workers in the tourism sector: risks and opportunities”, jointly organised by UNWTO and the International Labour Organization, particularly its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (ILO-IPEC). The event further featured a reporting session in which representatives of governments, international organisations, the tourism industry, NGOs, and the media related information on projects concerned with the protection of children in tourism.
2. Dr. Dawid de Villiers, Chairman of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection, welcomed the participants and noted that this was the first gathering since the Network was renamed in 2011. After explaining that this title was better reflecting the nature of the group, he presented a brief history of the body, originally formed in 1997. Dr. de Villiers spoke of UNWTO’s supporting role in fighting exploitation, and thanked the Network’s partners and the members of the Network’s Executive Committee for their collaboration. He noted that they had made a real difference in curbing child abuse throughout tourism, highlighting the efforts of governments and UN sister agencies – ILO, UNICEF, UN Women – as well as the Council of Europe and EC; its industry partners – including UFTAA, Accor, Melià, IHRA, SKAL, and IUF/UITA – its partners from the education sector and NGOs – especially ECPAT, whose determination raised the issue of child exploitation in tourism in the 1990s, as well as Save the Children, Tourism Concern, TDH, Infantia Foundation, and many others. Dr. De Villiers then gave the floor to the Secretary-General of UNWTO.
3. UNWTO Secretary-General Dr. Taleb Rifai thanked Dr. De Villiers and the Network’s Coordinator, Ms. Marina Diotallevi, as well as UNWTO’s partners, for their dedication. Hailing the eradication of child exploitation as a common responsibility, Dr. Rifai held that it must be afforded the highest priority throughout the travel and tourism sector which is about to reach the record of 1 billion travellers in 2012. Dr. Rifai pointed out that the sector must bravely admit that child abuse exists, that exploitation is growing just as the industry itself, and that tourism infrastructure is sometimes being used to commit crimes against children. If such crimes are not spoken of openly, the invisibility of their victims will ensure their continued vulnerability. In this spirit, the Secretary-General drew attention to responsible tourism and the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, endorsed by the UNWTO General Assembly in 1999 and the UN General Assembly in 2001. The document refers directly to the unacceptability of human exploitation in any form, especially of children, stating clearly that this “conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism and is the negation of tourism” (Article 2.3). He called for tourism stakeholders to turn every hotel room, airline seat and tourism website, into a medium to spread awareness of child exploitation. In so doing, they would reclaim tourism’s infrastructure, too often misused to perpetuate abuse, and instead use it to protect children.
4. The Secretary-General praised the Network’s accumulative achievements, especially in terms of awareness raising. He pointed to the 1st International Congress on Ethics and Tourism (held in 2011, Madrid, Spain) as a major breakthrough, given that 14 major Spanish tourism companies signed a Commitment to the Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. The companies also agreed to inform the World Committee on Tourism Ethics on measures taken in the field of CSR. He announced that UNWTO had concluded a similar agreement with the German Travel Association (DRV), whereby several prominent German businesses would sign the Commitment in 2012, and expressed the hope that this initiative would be replicated in other countries.
5. Noting that the Network initially concentrated on child sexual exploitation in tourism, Dr. Rifai commended the extension of its mandate in 2007 to include trafficking and child labour. He congratulated ILO for spearheading the fight against labour exploitation. He acclaimed the revitalisation of its International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) and was pleased that the special session of the Network’s meeting would focus on that topic, given that 215 million children are victims of such exploitation. Dr. Rifai concluded by highlighting the importance of partnerships between the media and the tourism sector. He applauded CNN’s “Freedom Project”, expressing the hope that other media outlets would address similar matters.
6. Dr. de Villiers thanked the Secretary-General and expressed concern over a decrease in government participation in the Network hoping that their involvement would revive in the future. Dr. De Villiers then introduced the theme of the special session and gave the floor to the representatives of the ILO.
SPECIAL SESSION: YOUNG WORKERS IN THE TOURISM SECTOR: RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES
(Jointly organised by UNWTO and ILO-IPEC)
7. Mr. Wolfgang Weinz, Senior Technical Specialist, Hotels, Catering, Tourism Sectoral Activities, of ILO, began by defining “youth employment” as involving workers of between 15 and 24 years of age. ILO focuses on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), notably MDG 1, the eradication of poverty, which is clearly related to creating employment. The political priority for the tourism sector, he pointed out, is similarly to create jobs. He explained as an “entry point”, tourism allows many to enter the world of work with little or no training, thus offering young workers an excellent opportunity to enter the labour market. However, young persons and women constitute the most vulnerable groups among workers, especially because of the financial crisis. Youth unemployment is rising globally, with the current rate at 13.5%. Youth are poorly represented in areas where the overall population is getting younger. For example, in North Africa, young people constitute the majority of the population but also represent the majority of the unemployed. Job opportunities in tourism are affected by its sometimes poor international image, as the sector is not seen as attractive by well-educated young people. This is largely because of its reputation of poor working conditions, erratic working hours, low wages, poor treatment of staff, problems of seasonality, poor skills development and career prospects below the supervisory level. A lack of social dialogue often strains communication between managers and workers in tourism, which affects both young workers and the industry itself. The latter has exceptionally high turnover, which is costly and affects productivity, competitiveness and service quality, thus producing negative effects. Mr. Weinz explained that ILO promotes the concept of “decent work”, which is supported by conventions and toolkits to help make it real. Presentation of Mr. Weinz
8. Ms. Yoshie Noguchi, Senior Legal Officer, Hazardous Child Labour, of ILO-IPEC recalled that the categories of “youth”,(15 to 24 years of age), and “children” (under the age of 18), often overlap. Many children, work formally and informally, in and around the tourism sector, notably in souvenir production and the sale of food and beverages. In the ILO’s view, the problem is not informal work, but rather that much of this work can be hazardous or abusive. 115 million of the world’s 215 million child labourers are engaged in “hazardous labour”, such as forced labour, engagement in illicit activities such as the drug trade, begging, trafficking and prostitution. While international data, segregated by age and gender, does not exist on young workers in tourism, in the EU, the hotels and restaurant sector is known to be dominated by young persons. In general, child labour is declining, especially for younger children, but figures for boys of between 15 and 17 have not decreased recently. Girls’ rights are now being more respected while the rights of boys must be championed in tandem. Ms. Noguchi further mentioned the commitment by members of ILO to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016, which is after all caused by and, in turn, causes poverty, a vicious cycle which must be broken. In order to do so, advocacy and dialogue are essential. She cautioned that child labour will not disappear with prohibition alone, but rather with the provision of decent work as an alternative. She clarified that youth should not be denied employment in tourism, but offered instead decent conditions. Reducing child labour and youth unemployment, protecting young workers and workers in general, will further benefit the tourism sector as a whole, Ms. Noguchi stressed. Presentation of Ms. Noguchi
9. Mr. Denis Seigneur, Senior Vice President, Top & Senior Executives Development, of Accor acknowledged that, like most other businesses, approximately one in four of their employees is aged 24 or under. To ensure the safety of young workers, Accor uses its size and prominence to reduce risks and offer opportunities, especially given their experience in CSR initiatives. The company actively works with ECPAT, especially to train staff in South-East Asia. They are extending the network of countries (currently 36) who have signed the ECPAT Code of Conduct. In the USA and Canada, the company has successfully instituted an “Amber Alert” process in their network of motels to relay alerts to the police. Moreover, the innovative measures taken at the FIFA Football World Cup in South Africa in 2010 will be duplicated in London for the 2012 Olympics and in 2014 for the Football World Cup in Brazil. Mr. Seigneur also noted Accor’s sustainable programme in Thailand in liaison with UNICEF. Keen that their philosophy of sharing skills should not be limited only to developing countries, they have extended it to New Zealand in co-operation with the government. In Brazil, in collaboration with the local NGO UNIBES, Accor employees pioneered an initiative to train young Brazilians in employment skills that would increase their prospects of securing jobs. In Morocco, a similar corporate initiative was formulated, whereby the company decided, in collaboration with the government, to set-up three apprenticeship centres. In France, Accor’s extensive presence and margin for manoeuvre enables the company to thoroughly train new workers and to offer international careers. Thus, Mr. Seigneur stated, skills development is not undertaken only on a local basis, but with an international perspective. Presentation of Mr. Seigneur
10. Ms. Chantal Hoogstoel, Representative of IUF/UITA, felt it is critical to raise awareness of the rights of young workers who belong to two distinct categories – “workers” and “youth”. She recalled that the tourism industry is characterized by high proportion of SMEs, human resource intensiveness, a high density of female and young workers (up to 50% are under 25) and low rates of unionisation. The sector offers many opportunities for young persons to acquire skills, but that it can, unfortunately, expose them to hazards. One in eight children worldwide, she noted, is engaged in child labour. As the service sector provides 26% of their employment and the tourism industry represents an important share in this percentage, some 56 million child labourers work in tourism in formal or informal ways. Tourism is known to give highly demanding repetitive tasks, for instance, housekeepers perform physical labour on a repetitive basis by lifting several 15kg mattresses every day, which affects their health over time. While numerous conventions and codes of conduct have been adopted on child labour, most texts have yet to be properly enforced so that abuse is circumvented. As workers, young workers have rights which all employees should enjoy irrespective of age. These include the right to join unions and defend their interests, yet in some countries, while children can legally work at the age of 13-14, they cannot join unions. Young workers should become familiar with their rights, get help to sign contracts, and be afforded legal protection and assistance. The seasonality of the tourism sector and the particularities of its working hours should not be an excuse for precarious work and fixed term contracts. They should work in safe, secure and healthy environments, receive standard wages, fair remuneration, equal pay for equal work, social security coverage, access to medical care/sickness benefit schemes and stable career prospects. Youth workers also have a right to access training and are entitled to special care and attention, since their lack of experience leaves them vulnerable. They must not work before the age of the completion of compulsory schooling and should also receive assistance to access housing. With the intention of abolishing child labour and progressively raising the age of entry into the labour force, she suggested a worldwide target age of 16, at minimum, and 18 for hazardous work. Ms. Hoogstoel further stressed that social dialogue is essential.
11. Ms. Marieke Abcouwer, Program Manager of the Child Labour Platform of the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) which builds coalitions of businesses, governments and other key-players to contribute to MDGs 1, 7 and 8 (poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and trade). She presented the Child Labour Platform which was set up in 2010, as a result of the The Hague Conference on Child Labour and the endorsement of the road map for eliminating the worst forms of labour. This document focused on the roles of different stakeholders, especially the private sector, and concluded that many companies (including Accor) were working to combat child labour but that there was little sharing of experiences between enterprises. In response, the Dutch government instructed IDH to set up the aforementioned Platform, and to coordinate it until the ILO and UN Global Compact took over its leadership in 2012. IDH brought together over 30 businesses and 30 civil society organisations from four sectors, including cotton, cocoa, mining and tourism. Inspired by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in tackling the issue of child labour, they organised workshops for companies and NGOs to exchange experiences, and further developed good practices and sets of guidelines for businesses and the general public. The IDH’s focus is supply chain management which includes projects on tourism and child labour. Multi-stakeholder partnerships have proven essential for norm setting and defining different paths that actors can take to eliminate child labour. She pointed to an example in Brazil where ECPAT Netherlands and TUI worked together, and came to the conclusion that the lack of education among girls was harmful to young women and the tourism destination in general. They embarked on a collaborative project and trained young adults, empowered and supported children and parents, and increased awareness of the importance of education.
12. Ms. Yoshie Noguchi of ILO-IPEC presented the ILO’s Leaflets with Tips for Working Youth, which will be available online. She indicated that the leaflets constitute templates that can be used to raise awareness on child labour and youth employment among youth and businesses. She encouraged the adaptation of these templates by companies, employers, administrators and other stakeholders.
13. Dr. Dawid de Villiers thanked the speakers for their inputs and asked for questions from the audience.
14. Ms. Sietske Gras-Dijstra, Researcher at NHTV Breda University and member of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, inquired about the enforcement of child labour regulations. Ms. Noguchi clarified that prevention and awareness raising was the ILO’s focus, since enforcement was the obligation of employers and governments. She held that the international community should not react only when bad things happe, but instead prevent exploitation from occurring. As such, she stressed the importance of tourism stakeholders being made aware of the situation and how to address it. She spoke of the significance of value chains, and of having the support of businesses and unions. Mr. Weinz explained that the leaflets are intended to support public-private partnerships, whereby companies will distribute them in the real world of work and put their recommendations into practice. Ms. Gras-Dijstra observed that in The Netherlands, many Dutch citizens do not want to perform hazardous work and thus recruit foreign workers to perform these jobs. She commented that laws must be stringently enforced to ensure that all workers, especially youth, are taken care of.
15. Mr. Horacio Diaz del Barco, Deputy Director General for Co-operation of Tourspain, outlined the highlights of the 1st International Congress on Ethics and Tourism, held in Madrid in September 2011. Acclaiming it as an excellent example of co-operation between Spanish State Secretariat of Tourism and UNWTO, he recalled that the Congress was supported by the EU, Iberia and Qatar airlines, the BBC, Melia Hotels, and the City Council of Madrid. With over 400 participants from 55 countries, the gathering featured the input of more than twenty speakers from the public and private sectors, including the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, different ministers of tourism, as well as the representatives of the industry and NGOs, notably ECPAT International. With the Global Code of Ethics as the framework, participants discussed various topics, including child protection. Ms. Consuelo Crespo, President of UNICEF Spain, reported that the predicament of the millions of children who are victims of violence and exploitation is not due to individual criminals but to a chain of agents who profit from abuse. Mr. Diaz del Barco also noted that, prior to the closing ceremony, 14 prominent Spanish companies (Agrupación de Cadenas Hoteleras de Baleares, Amadeus IT Group, ASHOTEL, Federación Española de Asociaciones de Agencias de Viajes, Federación Empresarial Hotelera de Mallorca, Grupo Barceló, Grupo Iberostar, Grupo Lopesan, Iberia, Loro Parque, Melia Hotels International, National Atesa, NH Hoteles, and Orizonia) signed a Private Sector Commitment to the Code of Ethics and the Pre-Agreement to ECPAT’s Code of Conduct. He especially praised Melia Hotels and Group Barceló for pioneering the fight against child exploitation in tourism in Spain. In conclusion, he wished his colleagues in Ecuador every success with their preparations for the 2nd International Congress on Ethics and Tourism, to be held in September 2012. Presentation of Mr. Diaz del Barco
16. Mr. Bakri, Director of Society Empowerment of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, spoke of efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and the sexual exploitation of children in his country’s tourism sector. He pointed out to the importance of this issue for Indonesia, as indicated in its legislation and the actions of its government. Notably, the government had founded a Ministry of Social Welfare, which, in co-operation with other ministries, fought child sexual exploitation and the exploitation of child workers. Prevention authorities in each province also have a duty to coordinate and implement laws against exploitation of children. The Ministry of Tourism had distributed awareness-raising materials to hotels, travel agencies and other stakeholders across the country , in co-operation with ECPAT groups. Hotel chains such as Melia Hotels were especially active in combating child exploitation, particularly in popular tourism destinations such as Bali. Mr. Bakri also reported that the Ministry of Tourism co-operates with the institution in charge of Indonesia’s National Action Plan for the eradication of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children, and seeks to stimulate safeguarding measures in hotels. He mentioned newspaper reports on the issue as a positive development, since this reflected freedom of expression and a willingness to address difficult subjects. Noting that the majority of Indonesia’s population are young people, clarified that only individuals over 18 years of age are permitted to work in Indonesia. Presentation of Mr. Bakri
17. Ms. Afrooz Kaviani Johnson, Technical Director, Project Childhood (Prevention Pillar), of World Vision spoke of enhancing “child safe tourism” in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Project Childhood is an Australian government-funded programme that combats the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, with a dual “protection” and “prevention” programme. The “Prevention Pillar” of Project Childhood is delivered by World Vision, while the “Protection Pillar” is implemented by UNODC in partnership with Interpol. These two pillars reflect the importance of both prevention and the implementation of protective measures. The Protection Pillar looks at strengthening the criminal justice response by enhancing the capacity of police, prosecutors and judges to identify and arrest travelling child sex offenders in the partner countries. The Prevention Pillar works to enhance the protective environment for children in tourism and, in partnership with ministries of tourism, the private sector, civil society organisations and community participants, aims to embed “child safe tourism” within the responsible tourism framework. World Vision addresses those enabling factors in the tourism environment which allow child abuse to occur, especially the informal economy of tourism, and these conditions push children into abusive situations. By advocating a child safe approach, World Vision hopes to make the tourism environment safer for children and to “make tourism work for children”. In this endeavour World Vision’s key partners are the children to whom they deliver education, assistance, and training on protective behaviour and skills; parents and carers; school teachers; and the tourism sector, including NTAs, the private sector, and tourists. Presentation of Ms. Kaviani Johnson
18. Ms. Sylvia Harten, Project Leader of the National Reinforcement Program against Child Abuse of the National Police Services Agency of The Netherlands, spoke of the Dutch police’s multi-disciplinary approach to travelling child sex offenders and child pornography. While both issues are high on the Dutch political agenda, she acknowledged that the former has not yet received the attention it deserves. In 2008, a reinforcement programme was established to improve the Dutch police’s response to these problems. The Minister of Justice and Security ordered the police to double the capacity of investigators who deal with these crimes, taking into account perpetrators, users, and victims. Ms. Harten stressed that the Dutch police is aware of the need to work with other stakeholders to truly tackle the challenge of travelling sex offenders, which is of an international nature. Their focus is on building awareness, preventing abuse, and protecting victims. The police, NGOs and travel agencies are currently looking for ways to launch an awareness campaign in the three major airports of The Netherlands, in order to encourage the reporting of suspected child exploitation cases by travellers. She expressed her satisfaction with the willingness of travel agencies and others to collaborate on such initiatives, and indicated that her own agency was keen to boost co-operation with other tourism stakeholders. Presentation of Ms. Harten
19. Ms. Anita Mendiratta, Managing Director of Cachet Consulting, spoke of the growing role of the media in shaping global awareness on the protection of children. Tourism, she claimed, can be made to work to “take care of the things we care for”, whether in terms of environmental issues or human rights. Ultimately, it can be a force for the protection of children. In her view, it is not only the job of governments to enforce the protection of children, but rather the duty of everyone to do so. We are ashamed, she pointed out, when we hear of child pornography and abuse. However, she held that we must shine a light on the dark side of the industry. The most effective way to do so, she said, is by amplifying our voices, by spreading the message around the world. Effective enduring media coverage forces attention onto an issue, making it impossible to look away. When enough people have the courage to look at an issue, she concluded, action can take place. Ms. Mendiratta then drew attention to CNN’s “Freedom Project”. Their coverage raised the profile of several important issues, like that of workers in businesses which produce chocolate, but who have never tasted chocolate themselves. Shining the spotlight on an issue magnifies it, she underlined, since the media turns uncomfortable whispers into a loud far-reaching cry for action. She concluded that the relationship between tourism and the media must be brought closer together if discussions of issues like child exploitation are to have a worldwide impact. Presentation of Ms. Mendiratta
20. Mr. Andreas Astrup, General Manager of the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (The Code), explained that The Code of Conduct, created by ECPAT 15 years ago, has been an independent organisation since 2004. An industry driven initiative, with the majority of its board drawn from the private sector, it retains close co-operation with ECPAT, other NGOs, and partners like UNICEF and UNWTO. He felt that these multi-stakeholder partnerships were key to The Code of Conducts’s success, helping to earn it over 1000 signatures. Based on six criteria, its simplicity and flexibility make it an effective tool. A bar in Thailand and a global airline, he pointed out, could both sign and implement the document. Referring to UNICEF’s assessment report, he acknowledged that while it is successful in awareness raising, ensuring implementation on the ground – such as the staff training– has been harder to achieve. As a result, his organisation is developing new tools, particularly a CRM system and an e-learning system. With the latter, companies will be able to train all their staff, access information and report online. This new system was prompted by the realisation that workshops are not a realistic or cost-effective way to train so many employees in such a vast sector with high turnover. Company reports will be shown on the new website to ensure that reporting is transparent, and demonstrate which companies have policies related to child protection.Presentation of Mr. Astrup
21. Ms. Rosa Marta Brown, Founder and Director of the Infantia Foundation, spoke of the launch of the National Code of Conduct in Mexico in 2011, after years of lobbying for the support of the government. The cooperation with the State Secretary of Tourism, H.E. Ms. Gloria Guevara and the most significant tourism associations was crucial in the whole process. Based on the international Code of Conduct, the National Code adds features to enrich its implementation, notably protocols of awareness and safe and anonymous denouncements, and a protocol of attention. In her view, its most significant feature is that it is free of charge, as the Mexican government bears all costs. As of December 2011, 300 stakeholders have signed the document, including travel agencies, tour operators, hotels and restaurants. The signing is backed by the Secretariat of Tourism, Infantia Foundation, and CROC, the most important workers’ union in Mexico. The support of the latter enables direct access not only to employers but to employees. She elaborated on tools used by the initiative, including a trainer’s manual, a sensitisation manual, and trainer sessions, whereby business leaders are invited to sign the National Code and are given a 6-hour training course on its mplementation. A forum was also organised for 200-300 union workers of signatory hotels, to inform them of how they can protect children. Ms. Brown further spoke of an Infantia Foundation programme for reintegrating victims of human trafficking into society, in partnership with the Youth Career Initiative (YCI). Over 40 victims have been successfully reintegrated, especially thanks to a halfway house for disadvantaged youngsters.
22. Ms. Fran Hughes, Head of Programmes of the International Tourism Partnership, part of the International Business Leaders Forum, informed that her organisation’s aim is to address critical sustainability issues within the hotel and hospitality industry. Collaborating with their 14 members, who represent some of the biggest global chains, the issues they tackle also include human trafficking. Their working group on the subject meets regularly to find common approaches and share best practices. In 2011, they developed a position statement on trafficking, recognisng it is a pertinent issue which pervades many levels of the hospitality industry, via the misuse of infrastructure, supply chains, money laundering, and in other ways. One way they seek to curb this problem is by undertaking awareness training for hotel staff. She mentioned the Youth Career Initiative-YCI programme, as it sits within IBLF and is an excellent mechanism for training young persons in work and life skills in partnership with local NGOs and local hotels. Active in 10 countries, the scheme has been expanded to deal with both vulnerable young people and the victims of trafficking and exploitation, so as to reintegrate them into society. Given their special needs, YCI offers mentoring and support to victims alongside training for high-level hotel staff to inform them about trafficking and its relation to tourism businesses. This training was developed in partnership with the US State department and is currently active in Mexico, where YCI works with the Infantia Foundation. It will be also expanded to Brazil and Vietnam. Presentation of Ms. Hughes
23. Ms. Clara Sommarin, Child Protection Specialist, Exploitation and Violence, of UNICEF, pointed out that her organisation has championed The Code of Conduct since 2004 and participated in the assessment of the document’s effectiveness. She recalled significant actions at regional and national levels, starting with South America where Honduras and Nicaragua have introduced a requirement for tourism businesses to adhere to their national codes in order to obtain an operational license. UNICEF’s National Committee in Japan has prompted 80 companies to sign document since 2005, while The Spanish National Committee is now supporting, in collaboration with ECPAT Spain and Melia Hotels, the Code’s implementation by those companies which signed its pre-agreement at the International Congress on Tourism Ethics in September 2011. She further indicated that UNICEF does not focus on isolated issues like sexual exploitation, but rather on promoting child protection in a holistic way. They address the root causes of violence and abuse, including discriminatory gender norms, social and economic exclusion, lack of quality education, weak law enforcement and impunity. They support the strengthening of laws and services for children, but also emphasise how important it is for communities to address harmful attitudes and behaviours. She noted that UNICEF is part of the Steering Committee of UN Gift, which has developed a manual on human trafficking and business, featuring examples of measures companies can take to combat trafficking. She also announced that UNICEF was ready to launch their “Children’s Rights and Business Principles”, in collaboration with Save the Children and the UN Global Compact, designed as a common reference point for businesses, presenting a coherent vision of how to maximise positive and minimise negative impacts on children in relation to the market place, labour and the community. Finally, she recalled the discussion of the Network’s Executive Committee on information technologies and pointed to a report on “Child Safety Online” by UNICEF’s National Committee in Japan as a useful resource.
24. Dr. De Villiers thanked all the speakers and proposed that the Network’s meetings start at 2 p.m. instead of 2:30 p.m. as of 2013, in order to have an extra half hour for debate and questions. He announced that at ITB 2013, the theme of the special session will be “Information Communication Technologies: Child Protection in Tourism”. He invited the audience to help suggest suitable speakers, asking them to contact email@example.com with their proposals.
- Report (pdf) of the 27th meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
- Agenda of the 27th meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection
- Information on the last meeting of the Network (26th Task Force meeting, 2011)
- Reports of the past meetings of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force)
- More information on the World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force)
- More information on UNWTO's work on the Protection of Children