14th meeting of the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism


13 March 2004

ITB Tourism Fair

Report of the fourteenth meeting of the

(ITB, Berlin, 13 March 2004)

Download a PDF of this report here (Please note that links to presentations within this PDF may not function properly)

1. The Task Force to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism held its fourteenth meeting in Berlin on 13 March 2004, as part of parallel events held during the ITB. The meeting was attended by over 90 delegates.


2. The Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Task Force, WTO Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Dawid de Villiers, opened the Task Force by welcoming participants from 38 governments, four intergovernmental organizations, nine international or regional industry associations, five national associations and companies, nine non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and three education institutions. He welcomed the excellent response to the meeting as an indicator of the growing importance of the Group’s work.

3. Dr. de Villiers reminded the open structure of the Task Force, a global network of representatives from governments, tourism industry and NGOs whose aim was to coordinate activities and share experiences in the field. He also mentioned the two regular sessions in Berlin (ITB) and in London (WTM) to which participants were invited every year to review the latest developments in the fight against this practice.

4. The Deputy Secretary-General finally informed participants about the change of status that the World Tourism Organization had undergone on 23 December 2003, date in which it became a specialized agency of the United Nations.


5. Ms. Jacqueline de Rey, UFTAA Honorary Chairperson and Vice Chair of the Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Task Force, reported on the ExCom’s meeting held on the previous day. More concretely, Ms. De Rey indicated that the Committee had noticed a considerably better response/attendance rate at the reporting sessions of the Task Force meetings in Berlin (ITB) than thematic sessions in London (WTM). For this reason, it had decided to slightly re-arrange the structure of the two annual Task Force meetings so as for both to include a reporting and thematic part. Task Force participants agreed on the proposal and later voted on the topic to be developed at the next meeting in London (8 November 2004), viz. the role of the travel media in the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in tourism.


6. Dr. de Villiers informed participants that the “Open Seat” on the Executive Committee of the Task Force was up for re-election. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which held the seat so far, was willing to serve on the Committee for a renewed term.

7. Following a call for nominations prior to the meeting, the international workers’ union IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations) submitted its candidature which, however, could not be considered eligible since IUF failed to meet one of the two basic requirements necessary to serve on the Committee (i.e., to have attended at least one Task Force meeting in the prior twelve months). IFJ was thus re-confirmed on the Committee for an additional term.


8. The process for the establishment of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, Dr. de Villiers explained, began shortly after the adoption, in 1999, of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism by the WTO General Assembly. Yet, it was not until the end of 2003 that the composition of the Committee could be agreed upon. The process only concluded in February this year with the election of the Chairman of the Committee by its Members gathered for the first time in Rome (25-26 February 2004).

9. At the same meeting in Rome, the Committee established its programme of work including such tasks as raising awareness on the importance of the Code, assessing the current degree of implementation of the Code, planning strategies to further enhance its implementation and setting up conciliation procedures for the settlement of possible disputes.

10. The Committee further recognized the importance of the work of the Task Force and designated Mr. Alain-Philippe Feutré (who was both member of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and of the Executive Committee of the Task Force) to ensure the liaison between the two bodies and to regularly report work to the Task Force participants about the World Committee’s.


11. Ms. Marina Diotallevi, Task Force Coordinator and WTO/EU-Project Manager, informed participants that the second phase of the EU-funded umbrella project carried out by the WTO and its four NGO partners in the framework of the International Campaign against the sexual exploitation of children in tourism, had concluded on 10 January 2004. She also indicated that no new funding was expected from the EU and that activities for the prevention of SECT would continue in the framework of the Task Force.

12. Ms. Diotallevi further reported on the outcome of the five inter-related projects carried out since April 2002 by WTO and its partners, i.e., the Family and Child Care Centre from Greece, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), terre des hommes-Germany, and the ECPAT/respect Group.


13. Mr. Amadou Ceesay, Director of Tourism Human Resources of The Gambia Tourism Authority, reported about the national response to child sex tourism (CST) and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in his country. In this context, he informed about the results of a research conducted by CPA and terre des hommes on the involvement of Dutch tourists in CST in the Gambia. He gave an overview of the replies to interviews featuring such questions as: Is CST really happening? How does CST take place? Where does CST take place? What are the conditions that make CST easy?. Mr. Ceesay also enumerated several national activities undertaken to eradicate sexual exploitation of children in tourism, including the adoption of the National Tourism Offences Act in 2002, as well as draw a picture expected future developments in terms of prevention, law reform, law enforcement, rehabilitation and research. Presentation of Mr. Ceesay

14. Mr. Ries Hartadi, Director of Multilateral Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Indonesia, presented the actions and measures taken in his country to combat the sexual exploitation of children in tourism (SECT). He started by giving an overview of the current situation where, according to the Indonesia Ministry of Social Affairs, the number of commercial sex workers in 2000-2001 was around 70,000, of whom 30% were prostituted children and 3-5% were younger than 15 years of age. A study carried out by CSDS (Center for Societal Development Studies of Atmajaya Catholic University) revealed that the initial age of entry into prostitution was as young as 10-12 years old. The same study also indicated that sex services were offered not only in government regulated establishments such as brothel complexes, but also in residential places, hotels, bars, restaurants, beauty parlors, escort services.

15. Mr. Hartadi later explained the scope of Indonesia’s National Plan of Action on Eradication of SECT and indicated that a campaign was launched as an integrated programme to this Plan. He also enumerated a series of complementary activities carried out in his country, including, among others, a live television talk show conducted on the topic of “Child exploitation in Art and Tourism” and several local seminars. Presentation of Mr. Hartadi

16. Ms. Paola Viero, Responsible for Child Programmes at the Central Technical Unit of the Development Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, showed a video spot financed by her country’s development cooperation as part of a bilateral project for the protection of children in the Dominican Republic, coordinated by UNICEF and with the expertise of ECPAT Italy.

17. Ms. María Elena Asuad, Public Policy Officer at UNICEF Santo Domingo followed up to Ms. Viero’s presentation by explaining the way of coordinating the fight against SECT in the Dominican Republic within an Inter-institutional Commission composed of 25 entities from the government and non-government sector, as well as from international organizations and civil society. She mentioned a poster campaign at airports (featuring Dominican law and related penalties for child abuse), and the use of WTO training module for tourism professionals for the training of 120 tourism professionals in three tourism destinations. Rehabilitation programmes had also been set up in two communities.

18. Mr. Johnny Bernal Franco from ASONAHORES, the National Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Dominican Republic, intervened in the joint Dominican presentation by expressing the support of his Association to the multilateral project and informed participants of the adoption of the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism by his member establishments. He confirmed the commitment of the private sector in the Dominican Republic to take action in this field and its determination to continue doing so in the future, but indicated the need to receive some positive signs and messages from the country’s government.

19. Mr. Andrés Contreras Serrano, Deputy Director General for Cooperation and Tourism Coordination at the General Secretariat for Tourism of the Ministry of Economy of Spain, began his presentation by indicating that Spain was opposed to the term “child sex tourism” since the tourism industry not only did not benefit from this kind of exploitation, but that, on the contrary, this practice was opposed to the very nature of tourism. He further reported about the legal measures taken by his government to fight SECT, as well as about the 2001 Plan of Action and the national campaign whose forthcoming launch was being prepared by a working group composed of representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Development Cooperation), WTO, UNICEF, ECPAT, INTERPOL, the tourism industry and the airlines.

20. Ms. Charlotte Thouvard, Corporate Patronage of the hotel chain Accor, reported on new actions of the Group in cooperation with ECPAT, and on its perspectives for 2004. The Group started activities in Thailand in 2001 to raise awareness of hotel guests and employees about the problem of SECT, by means of poster campaigns and train-the-trainers programmes. In 2003, ACCOR signed the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children and organized fundraising activities to support education programmes for children in Northern Thailand. The awareness campaign was to be expanded from Thailand to Indonesia and Cambodia, as well as to France. Prevention actions were planned in Africa (Senegal) and pilot projects starting shortly in Mexico and Santo Domingo. Presentation of Ms. Thouvard

21. Ms. Helen Santiago Fink, Senior Economic Affairs Officer at OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) informed participants about an Anti-Trafficking Programme being developed by the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE on the Public-Private Co-operation in the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings. Among the objectives of the programme was the intensification of cooperation with the private sector, including the tourism industry, to tackle this practice. The trafficking in human beings affected a large amount of children (approx. 65%, in Albania, 50% in Bulgaria, 45% in Moldova). OSCE intended to build upon best practices in the private sector, specifically on the Code of Conduct project, which would be further developed in close cooperation with the Austrian NGO respect. Presentation of Ms. Santiago Fink

22. Ms. Tine Staermose, Coordinator of the Vulnerable Groups Unit, at the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), informed that 147 countries so far had ratified the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182) which also included provisions on the commercial sexual exploitation of children. She gave two examples of tourism being a positive force against sexual exploitation and trafficking of human beings: (a) the Mekong project in Thailand which helped to open up new economic opportunities for hill tribe women and children; and (b) IPEC’s work since 1997 with trade unions in the hotel and tourism sector (NUHWRAIN) in the Philippines, which was funded by Japanese trade unions. She provided an overview on the Organization’s activities against SECT in various countries and regions in the world. Presentation of Ms. Staermose

23. Mr. Luc Ferran, Tourism Coordinator at ECPAT International, reported about the findings of a research his Organization commissioned on child sex tourism in tourism destinations of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The research was carried out by associated NGOs: SANLAAP (India North: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), Equations (India South: Goa and Kerala), CWIN Nepal and the South Asia Partnership International (Sri Lanka) under the lead of expert Cristine Beddoe. Both similarities and differences were observed in the results of the 3 countries. In Nepal, CST was on the increase and often occurred without a third party intervention (direct contact between children and tourists).

24. In Sri Lanka, CST occurred in a very organized manner (Hikkaduwa) and in an independent manner (Galle); the age of victims varying from 6-16. Foreign offenders often targeted male victims, while domestic offenders female victims. In the Golden triangle in the North of India, CST was not as visible as in other tourism destinations, but was on the rise; in the South, in Goa, there was a well-established child sex industry while in Kerala CST occurred more in an ad hoc or irregular manner.

25. Mr. Ferran further reported on Code of Conduct activities to prevent CST and HIV/Aids in Kenya, carried out by respect Austria and Kenya Tourism Concern. A well-established tourism destination, Kenya had a growing rate of child prostitution (30,000 estimated victims of CSEC) and the highest prevalence of HIV/Aids in the world. The on-going project focused on training in schools and within the tourism industry, as well as on informing tourist in Austria and in Kenya about the problem. Presentation of Mr. Ferran

26. Ms. Sabine Minninger, a tourism student, carried out in cooperation with ECPAT Germany and Tourism Watch, a study on the implementation of the Code of Conduct by the German tourism industry. A total of 215 German tourists were interviewed at the Frankfurt airport on their way to South-East Asia, Brazil, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The research intended to assess the level of awareness on CST of the German tourists, their willingness to take initiatives by their own to prevent this practice and the measures that in their opinion should be taken by the tourism industry. The results of the study confirmed that 93% of the tourists were aware of the problem, mostly thanks to media reports (63%). However, 93% of respondents were not aware of the Code of Conduct (the travel agencies and tour operators had not provided information on it). 73% of them thought that tour operators should take initiatives to protect children from SECT and 77% thought it should be done by the hotels.

27. Mr. David Ford, Head of Sex Offenders and international issues, Criminal Law Police Unit, Home Office of the United Kingdom, explained some of the measures taken by the UK against child sex tourism. Mr. Ford first mentioned the coordination done in this field by a multi-sectoral group composed by all government departments (foreign affairs, interior and tourism), law enforcement agencies, NGOs and representatives of the travel industry.

28. As regards to national legislation, Mr. Ford explained that his country had adopted the dual criminality principle which enables to prosecute in the UK persons having committed child sex offences overseas. He further mentioned a new piece of legislation which would come into force on 1st May 2004, which would allow the UK to prohibit those persons prosecuted for child sex offences to leave the country, or to visit a particular region or country in the world. He draw the attention to the unique aspect of the UK legislation that required convicted sex offenders to inform police of their intention to travel overseas for a duration of 8 days and more (3 days as from 1st May 2004). The UK national criminal service could thus notify, through Interpol, the jurisdiction of the country to which the offender was traveling to, so as to allow the jurisdiction concerned either to refuse entry or to monitor the offender while in the country visited (e.g., through police surveillance).

29. Lastly, Mr. Ford informed participants that two pieces of research had been commissioned by the Home Office, the first of which to evaluate the type of messages to deter CST that were acceptable to the tourism industry and the second, to define the profile of the typical child sex offender, in order to develop a revised marketing campaign against CST with the tourism industry.


30. The fifteenth Task Force meeting will take place in London in the afternoon of Monday, 8 November 2004 in connection with the World Travel Market.

See also

  • Download a PDF version of the Report of the 14th meeting of the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism (Berlin, 13 March 2004) (Please note that links to presentations are not accessible within this PDF)