ECPAT International was invited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to review its guiding document for travel and tourism business and other stakeholders to work for more sustainable tourism. ECPAT provided support related to child protection, and the new GSTC Destination Criteria v 2.0 now includes The Code which is hosted by ECPAT, as one of the measures to protect children from sexual exploitation.
GSTC represents a diverse range of global members within the sustainable travel industry. The criteria aim to guide policy-makers, travel and tourism businesses, government agencies and other organisations in how to move towards more sustainability. It covers sustainable management, socio-economic, cultural, and environmental impact, and now also child protection. One action point for preventing exploitation and discrimination is that key tourism players become members of The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, an initiative hosted by ECPAT International
How can travel and tourism prevent child sexual exploitation?
The travel and tourism industry is not the cause of sexual exploitation of children, 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.
The travel and tourism industry has a crucial role in protecting children from this crime by making sure child sex offenders do not misuse their services and venues. Voluntourism, orphanage tourism, hotels, apartments, airlines, taxis and tour operator services can all be used when committing these crimes. When staff, partners and visitors recognise suspicious situations and know how to report, they protect children!
The six criteria of The Code to protect children
When companies join The Code, they commit to six essential steps to keep children safe.
A business following these six steps is on its way to zero-tolerance against child sexual abuse and exploitation. These six steps are zero-tolerance. Travellers must understand that these crimes are unacceptable and that offenders will be prosecuted.
Here’s how to report child sexual abuse and exploitation when travelling—with help from the industry
Global Sustainable Tourism Council, The Code and ECPAT join forces to end sexual exploitation of children by travellers and tourists