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UNWTO hosts meeting of global leaders on fighting sexual exploitation of children in tourism

Posted : 19 July 2017 12:10:33 | By TWO Bureau | New Delhi

UNWTO hosts meeting of global leaders on fighting sexual exploitation of children in tourism

The Headquarters of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Madrid has hosted a meeting of experts to discuss measures the fight against child sexual exploitation in the tourism sector. The initiative is coordinated by ECPAT International with the support of the government of The Netherlands.


Despite international efforts to stop sexual exploitation of children in tourism, abetted by technology, the sheer speed and scale of this crime has, to date, out-paced attempts to respond at the international and national level. Failure of collective action and a chronic lack of robust data constitute the main challenges to eliminate this crime according to Global Study - Offenders on the Move, which is the largest pool of information on the issue to date.


“We cannot build the responsible and sustainable tourism sector that we seek without protecting the most vulnerable in our societies. To do so we need effective tools and a global commitment” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.


“Article 2 of UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism underlines 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”, he recalled saying that UNWTO “is progressing with transforming the Code into a legally binding international treaty, the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, which we hope will be approved by our General Assembly next September”.


The fight against Child Exploitation in tourism is one of the priorities of UNWTO who has been leading since 20 years the World Tourism Network on Child Protection.


Najat Maalla M'jid is the Chair of this Taskforce, which guided the development of the Global Study, and she set the scene for the meeting by stridently declaring, “Sexual exploitation in travel and tourism has a child’s face. No country is untouched by this phenomenon and no child is immune. In this International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, let us place children’s right to protection from violence and exploitation at the heart of our actions,”


The Special Rapporteur on child trafficking and sexual exploitation, Maud de Boer Buquicchio called for “child protection to be placed at the core of tourism development strategies.” The rise of the Internet and informal operators as well as greater access to international travel have expanded ‘demand’ and heightened the dangers for children. At the same time, grinding poverty and lack of education – combined with the continued neglect of child protection systems – have fuelled the ‘supply’ of children. International experts assembled in Madrid believe they have at least some of the answers, but they need wider engagement.

Tags : UNWTO, Global Leaders, Sexual Exploitation, TravelWorldOnline

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