19th meeting of the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism
Report of the nineteenth meeting of the
FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM
(WTM, London, 6 November 2006)
1. The Task Force to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism held its nineteenth meeting in London on 6 November 2006, as part of parallel events held during WTM. The meeting, which was attended by over 70 delegates, featured a Special Session on the Involvement of the Tourism Industry in the Campaign to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation In Tourism (SECT).
2. The Chairman of the Executive Committee (ExCom) of the Task Force Dr. Dawid de Villiers opened the Task Force meeting by welcoming participants from 21 governments, three intergovernmental and international organizations, seven international and regional tourism organizations, 5 national associations and companies, 15 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 2 media participants.
3. The Chairman underlined the strong representation in this event of delegates from different tourism sectors. He reminded the fact that the Task Force was created in 1997 as an open forum where no membership is required with the aim of bringing people together with the same ambition to combat the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. The activities carried out in several countries had led to a much better understanding of the problem worldwide. National governments are taking cognizance of it and have more willingness to attend these meetings and to introduce steps to tackle this issue.
4. Dr. de Villiers mentioned that the objective of the Task Force was to raise awareness and to improve initiatives collectively and individually on this problem. The Task Force is also an important opportunity to exchange views and experiences and to strengthen the network to better understand what is taking place around the world. He remarked that it was also very important to cooperate and to build partnerships, and to encourage the use of new methods to deal with the problem at international and national level.
5. The Chairman further referred to the structure of this meeting which consisted in three main sessions: the first part focusing on the discussion of a specific topic, the second on discussing the mandate and scope of the Task Force, and the third featuring an exchange of information through presentations from participants.
SPECIAL SESSION: Involvement of the Tourism Industry in the Campaign to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism (SECT)
6. Mr. Udaya Nanayakkara, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Board informed the Task Force about the various actions undertaken in his country to tackle SECT as examples of cooperation between public and private sectors. He remarked that poverty and lack of awareness among children and parents were the main causes of child sex tourism. The purpose of his country´s project was to create awareness at all levels of society. A planning group with a participatory approach was set up including stakeholders from the private and public sectors, i.e. Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Justice, Sri Lanka Police, Department Immigration and Emigration, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Women & Child Development. Mr. Nanayakkara explained that the goal of this initiative was to ensure that all tourists were made aware of the tourism industry’s zero tolerance of CST, to involve the private sector to play a proactive role in combating CST and to bring in new policies and regulations in this field. They worked in increasing community awareness by producing billboards, TV spots and other information material, as well as by conducting school programs and seminars for tourism police, hoteliers, tour operators and airlines. Mr. Nanayakkara pointed out that the commitment of the Sri Lanka Government was to create a more responsible tourism industry in the country. Finally, he showed a TV spot entitled Sanaa´s Story which was being shown on TV on a regular basis. Presentation of Mr. Nanayakkara
7. Ms Barbara Powell, Director, International Community Relations of Marriott International, presented the Youth Career Initiative which was created and managed by the International Tourism Partnership of the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders’ Forum (IBLF) of the United Kingdom. This project is an education program that utilizes the resources of the private sector to provide young people from poverty communities with valuable life and vocational skills. The purpose of YCI is to empower young people to be able to make informed career choices and realize the options available to them, enabling them to change their lives. She mentioned that all programs must contain some core components including language and computing skills, job preparation, personal finance and environmental awareness. The program currently operates in 8 countries: Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Philippines, Poland, Romania, and Thailand. Ms. Powell pointed out that this program was successful because it was built on partnerships and in collaboration between hotels, the public and private sectors, NGOs and the YCI Global Team. She said that this initiative was linked with Marriott´s “Spirit To Serve Our Communities” philosophy, and represented an opportunity to get involved in major issues including poverty, unemployment and youth exploitation. Finally, Ms. Powell showed a video of the YCI Graduation in Brazil. Presentation of Ms. Powell
8. Ms Hélène Roques, Director of the Sustainable Development Department of Accor, presented the major actions of her company for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in tourism. In 2006, the company launched Earth Guest, a global program that embodied the Group’s vision for sustainable development with eight priorities in Human and Environmental fields, including child protection, local development, water and energy. She reminded that the implementation of Accor’s commitment was adapted to the brands, businesses and host countries. Ms Roques also made reference to some major actions jointly undertaken with ECPAT International which included staff training, customer and partner awareness and the adoption of the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism at local level. Accor has also conducted training programs for employees in Cambodia, French Guyana, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Romania and Thailand, which was supported by the elaboration of training kits containing a presentation document for each general manager and a generic procedure based on the 6 golden rules to be followed. Ms. Roques said that they developed awareness and information campaigns for guests and that they would strengthen and extend their commitment to other countries, brands and divisions, in partnership with ECPAT and its network. Presentation of Ms. Roques
9. Ms Christa Dammerman, Children´s Rights Officer of Terre des Hommes Germany, introduced her organization whose mission was to provide active support to children, without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. TDH develops and implements projects designed to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged children in their own environment. Ms Anja Schlicht, Associate Director of Hill & Knowlton Communications, added that TDH has been a very active partner in the fight against sexual exploitation of children in tourism over the past years, through implementing communication measures in cooperation with the European Union, German ministries and UNWTO. She reminded that the first in-flight spot called “Toys” was produced with the purpose of getting the information across that sexual exploitation of children was a crime worldwide. The new in-flight spot “Witness” had the objective to enlarge knowledge among the target audience and to show more drastically that everybody could do something and should be aware and get engaged in the prevention of SECT. Ms. Schlicht considered that the spot should be internationally understandable and neither include much spoken dialogue nor offend children and families. German LTU was screening the spot since April 2006 on all their long-haul flights. Other international airlines would be approached with the support of UNWTO. Presentation of Ms. Dammerman and Ms. Schlicht
10. On behalf of Air France, Mr. Luc Ferran, Tourism Coordinator of ECPAT International presented a new in-flight spot produced by Air France in cooperation with ECPAT France. This video was developed in the framework of the third campaign against SECT which also involved the distribution of posters and brochures throughout France and the display of advertisements on internet.
DISCUSSION TOPIC: Broadening the mandate of the Task Force to include all forms of Child Exploitation in Tourism
11. The Chairman reported on the proposal of the Task Force to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism, that the Executive Committee of the Task Force be given the status and role of an Advisory Committee to the World Committee on Tourism Ethics. He mentioned that, at its last meeting held in Bangalore, India, 2-3 June 2006, the World Committee had accepted this proposal. However, the World Committee had also requested that the work of the Advisory Committee (and by implication that of the Task Force) be extended to include relevant aspects of Article 2.2 and 2.3 as far as children are concerned, and not only deal with the issue of sexual exploitation.
12. Dr. de Villiers explained that, as a consequence of broadening the scope of the Task Force, it would be necessary to change the name of the latter and review the composition of the Executive Committee in order to accommodate other tourism stakeholders. During the debate that followed several opinions were heard in favour of broadening the scope, as well as on keeping the focus on sexual exploitation in order not to lose achievements so far. The Chairman finally indicated that the final decision to link the Task Force to the WCTE, would only be taken in Berlin in March 2007. This would still allow the ExCom to inform the WCTE before its next session in June 2007.
REPORTING SESSION: Reports on actions/measures taken by governments and organizations
13. Ms. Lyndall De Marco, Executive Director, Tourism Partnership, International Business Leaders Forum, presented the UNWTO/IBLF initiative on human rights for the tourism industry, called The Tourism & Human Rights Initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to create a framework to assist the tourism industry in addressing human rights issues within their own business operations. This project recognizes the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as the overarching standard to guide the global activities of the project, which will be reinforced through the development and adoption of a specific set of human rights principles for the industry, with appendices for individual sectors. Ms. De Marco explained that the hotels would be the first sector to be addressed as they are the larger and more complex group of the tourism industry.
14. The process of drafting ethical principles for the industry would involve broad consultations with both the public and the private sectors. The principles would cover workplace and community stewardship issues including non-discrimination, forced/bonded labour, child labour, rights of indigenous people and vulnerable groups and child sex exploitation. She explained that the industry would obtain benefits from this initiative by gaining competitive advantage and brand image as well as meeting investors’ expectations. Ms. De Marco concluded by saying that this project was a collective approach that gave the industry a voice and that it had to be part of the company structure. Tourism & Human Rights Initiative
15. Ms. Barbara Powell announced that the Board of Directors of Marriott International revised the Human Rights Policy, which now includes the stand against the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. Moreover, Marriott decided to distribute the internet link to the “The Responsible Tourist and Traveller” among its confirmed bookings, comprising 60.000 pre-arrival confirmations per day and over 20 million emails per year to its guests.
16. Ms Chris Beddoe, Director ECPAT UK, analysed the role of the tourism industry in child trafficking. Her organization has been aware of the concerns around child trafficking over the last years. She explained that the Metropolitan Police had conducted an investigation to identify how many unaccompanied children were passing in Heathrow airport in London. They had found that 1700 children were traveling alone in a three month period, 30% of them were at potential risk. Ms. Beddoe realized that those situations could be present in large airports as well as in regional and small airports, as most criminals could come into the UK on budget carriers. She added that there were a wide number of ports and airports where children could be brought in. She considered that the tourism and transport industries should be involved at national and international level to combat this practice and that complete cooperation and the respect of internationally agreed standards were necessary to protect children in international transports. It would also be important to have staff and other providers fully qualified in order to understand the whole problem and to train them on who they might contact in different airports.
17. Ms Beddoe explained that the vast majority of trafficking in children in the country was not for sexual exploitation purposes, but for labour exploitation, and that this phenomenon occurred in developing countries as well as in developed countries. Children were brought in to work as domestic slaves in private houses and they were abandoned on streets when they were no longer needed, becoming at risk to be sexually exploited. She remarked that this problem was interrelated with tourism and needed a much broader dialogue to set up child protection mechanisms between different stakeholders involving immigration services, airlines and airport staff. Finally, Ms. Beddoe pointed out that each issue concerning the exploitation of children implied different policies, laws, partners and networks.
18. Ms Susan E. Gunn, Senior Technical Specialist – Hazardous Child Labour, International Labour Organization, reported on the several forms of child labour in tourism. She gave examples of children working in different tourism sectors, i.e. accommodation, catering, food and beverage, excursions, recreational activities, entertainment industry, tours, transport and souvenirs shops. She reminded that children working in tourist areas were often invisible and mostly behind the scenes. Ms. Gunn explained the main characteristics of child labour, which according to ILO, covered, among others, little children below 12 years of age doing any kind of work other than light chores and also any children doing a regular job below the legal working age, which was usually 15 years old.
19. She made reference to the main actions carried out in Ghana to eliminate child labour in tourism, where children were working as tourist guides, selling and producing art and craft, participating in entertainment of tourists and also being sexually exploited. The country developed awareness programs in local languages, drafted regulations and policies on child labour and provided services to families and children to get them into schools. Ms. Gunn remarked that it was important to identify the stage to start the prevention actions and to find ways to prevent children from going back to work. Finally, she expressed ILO’s willingness to cooperate closely with UNWTO in projects and joint initiatives related to these issues. Presentation of Ms. Gunn
20. Mr Luc Ferran, Tourism Coordinator of ECPAT International, reported on the latest developments on the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. This organization developed a new structuring and standardizing signature process, where a company that wished to sign the Code had to follow a 6 step procedure to obtain the final approval of ECPAT. He reminded that the signatory company had to nominate a focal point who was responsible for the coordination and the implementation of the Code. Mr. Ferran underlined that one of their goals was to improve coordination between the Code Secretariat, Code partners and companies. He said that the Code was implemented by 250 companies in 23 countries, and that national versions were being created in Costa Rica, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Spain. The Code was also launched in Montenegro with the support of more than 300 companies and several training workshops were organized in Bulgaria, Aruba, Belize and Mexico. Presentation of Mr. Ferran
21. Mr. Sidney Alves Costa, Head of Cabinet of the Ministry of Tourism, Brazil, gave an overview of the events organized in the framework of the III World Tourism Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development, to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 29 November - 2 December 2006. He remarked the celebration of the Seminar on Sustainable Tourism and Childhood, the Regional Task Force to protect children, and the meeting of Ministers and High Authorities in Tourism on the Prevention of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism. Mr. Alves Costa said that the Ministry of Tourism of Brazil would also conduct a number of seminars aimed at training employers and employees in the tourism industry on child issues with specific training materials for each sector. He concluded by saying that this initiative would be presented in all countries of South America. Presentation of Mr. Alves Costa
22. Finally, and with regard to the selection of the theme for the next Task Force meeting of March 2007, Dr. de Villiers presented two possible options: (a) The role of the media on the protection of children from sexual exploitation, and (b) trafficking of children in tourism. The second topic was selected by the participants.
23. After thanking participants for their attention and contributions to the meeting, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Task Force, Dr. Dawid de Villiers announced that the twentieth meeting of the Task Force was scheduled to take place at ITB Berlin, on 9 March 2007.
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