The connection between travel and tourism and the sexual exploitation of children might not be obvious. But as the travel and tourism industry expands with cheaper tickets and better connections, the opportunities for child sex offenders to exploit children also increases. No country or child is immune.
The travel and tourism industry can help protect children from this crime by making sure their services and venues are not misused by child sex offenders. Voluntourism, orphanage tourism and mega-events are examples where offenders easily can access and exploit children.
ECPAT and partners conducted the first-ever global study on this issue in 2016, which was the first effort to understand the global nature of this crime. The project consisted of a series of studies, to give the most comprehensive picture of the issue to date, and included a contribution from 67 partners, experts and children themselves. It reviews emerging trends and explores possible solutions to inform policymakers, galvanise political will and mobilise coordinated action to end this exploitation.
The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, the Code, is an independent NGO first initiated by ECPAT Sweden. Today, the Code works closely with the ECPAT Network, UNWTO, UNICEF and companies in the tourism industry to protect children from harm.