The travel and tourism sector acts for the protection of children and adolescents
Public and private sector authorities 25 countries met to agree on an action agenda to end the abuse and exploitation of children in travel and tourism
Representatives of governments, travel companies, public order agencies, UN agencies and civil society organizations from more than 25 countries met on June 6 and 7 in Bogotá, Colombia to agree on an action agenda to complete the Abuse and exploitation of children in travel and tourism.
The International Summit on the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism, organized by the Government of Colombia in association with the High Level Team on the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism; UNICEF; UNODC; WTTC and ECPAT International, has gathered more than 400 participants to commit to strong actions. The objective has been to raise awareness about the sexual exploitation of children; deal with child trafficking; adhere to codes of conduct; regulate volunteering in institutions where children are present and increase staff training to recognize when children are at risk of being trafficked or sexually exploited.
"This Summit has been an example of the commitment of the Colombian government to responsible tourism," said Sandra Howard Taylor, Vice Minister of Tourism of the Government of Colombia and host of the event. "We strive to avoid the exploitation of children in tourism, the main outcome of this Summit will be the signing of a declaration by the public and private sector to enforce policies and actions to protect children." Colombia is a country known for Many good practices in tourism have already taken many measures, including to protect children.Almost all tourism companies in Colombia, approximately 25,000, have joined the government's tourism programs to prevent and respond to the exploitation of children".
The delegates have agreed on a plan aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the recommendations of the Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism. The Summit urges governments, the private sector, law enforcement agencies, UN agencies and civil society organizations to better protect children from trafficking and traveling child sex offenders. This includes, in particular, greater coordination of multi-faceted stakeholders.
Speaking on behalf of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the global authority on the economic and social contribution of travel and tourism, Helen Marano, Executive Vice President, commented: "The Summit has been an important step in recognizing the many companies that are standard bearers in the sector for this critical issue, will serve as inspiration for all companies to take care of the needs of child protection in training and day-to-day operations.The commitments that must be articulated in the declaration will promote more The WTTC supports a strong commitment to Council members to help meet the critical need for child protection in all forms in the travel and tourism industry, and we are proud of the collaborative efforts of the Summit participants and we encourage the members of the industry to do the same. "
The travel and tourism sector has grown substantially in recent years. It contributes 10.4 percent to world GDP and 1 out of every 10 jobs, with an expected average annual growth of 4 percent in the next ten years. The World Tourism Organization of the United Nations projects 1,800 million travelers by 2030. This growth provides wider and easier access for all travelers and underlines the need for stronger measures for the protection of children.
Many countries lack sufficient legislation to stop or discourage traveling child sex offenders, who often take advantage of poverty, social exclusion and weak laws that offer a culture of impunity. In recent years, the increase in innovation in the travel and tourism industry has added to the risks. In addition, the Internet facilitates access to travel options, but it can also allow child sex offenders to travel to exploit children.