UNODC-UNWTO Side Event on Human Trafficking in the Context of Tourism
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNWTO held a joint side event on the subject of “Human Trafficking in the Context of Tourism”, in parallel with the 21st Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria, on the 24th of April 2012.
The event aimed to raise awareness of the phenomenon of human trafficking in relation to tourism, and to dispel any false sense of security that this form of exploitation bears no relation to the sector. The event conveyed the message that tourism infrastructure can be misappropriated by traffickers for exploitative purposes. While victims of trafficking are most often enslaved for sexual purposes, they may also be found in the kitchens of restaurants or bars, cleaning guesthouses, or engaged in exploitative begging and street hawking. Even the organs of trafficked victims are used today to attract travellers in need of transplants. Above all, the event emphasized that the tourism sector can and should play a vital role in preventing human trafficking. Efforts like the codes of conducts of tourism companies, and laws that allow for the prosecution in their homeland of tourists who engage in sexual conduct with children, must be strengthened and built upon, the event stressed.
UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, and UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai, called for concerted global action at every level of society to prevent and combat human trafficking, especially child trafficking, in the tourism sector. “It is appalling to see tourism infrastructure being used by traffickers to victimize the vulnerable," explained the Secretary-General of UNWTO, "yet our sector is firmly committed to reclaim this same infrastructure and use it for awareness raising in the fight against trafficking.”
Prior to the event, UNODC and UNWTO signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on initiatives directed at combating the trafficking of humans, wildlife, and cultural artegacts, in relation to the tourism sector.
- Press Release on the UNODC-UNWTO Event on Human Trafficking
- Speech of UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai, at the UNODC-UNWTO joint side event on Human Trafficking in the Context of Tourism