ASSET-H&C and The Code Establish Valuable Partnership to Tackle Sexual Exploitation of Children in Southeast Asian Travel and Tourism

The Code are pleased to welcome the Association of Southeast Asian Social Enterprises for Training in Hospitality and Catering, ASSET-H&C,  as new partners in the fight to end the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (SECTT). ASSET-H&C are a regional network created and coordinated by IECD, a French NGO. They bring together tourism and hospitality vocational training centers willing to work hand in hand to better fulfil their common social mission: bringing positive change in the lives of vulnerable youth by teaching them trades that will allow them to successfully integrate into society. As of August 2019, the network gathers 14 member-schools located in 5 countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam).

ASSET-H&C, recently honored by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Award 2019 for Education and Training, uphold the highest standards for excellence and innovation in their vision of a sustainable hospitality and tourism industry. Member-schools train 2,400 hospitality and tourism students each year, many of whom come from vulnerable or disadvantaged backgrounds. Now, as members of The Code, these students can continue to advance positive change in Southeast Asian society.

We are confident that the MOU signed between our two networks will significantly strengthen the travel and tourism industry’s ability to combat SECTT. ASSET-H&C has joined over 350 companies around the world in abiding by the six principles of The Code – establishing procedures and policies against SEC, training employees in children’s rights and report mechanisms, including a zero tolerance policy of SECTT in their contracts, providing information to travelers, supporting and collaborating with stakeholders, as well as reporting annually on their implementation of the Code. Damien Brosnan, Director of the Code, commented that “it is great to see that child protection will be increasingly highlighted in the training of the next generations of leaders in travel and tourism”.

 

PATA CEO Dr Mario Hardy described ASSET-H&C as an association ‘who truly represents the values of the Association in working towards a more responsible travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region’. Their commitment to ending the crime of SECTT represents an important step forward in global efforts towards child protection. The Code are additionally grateful for ASSET-H&C’s assistance in translating the Code’s training resources into Khmer and Laotian, and are pleased to assist ASSET-H&C in adapting their existing training course for ‘La Riziere’ school in Madagascar, initially developed with ECPAT France, for the Southeast Asian context.

Above all, the partnership between The Code and ASSET-H&C will continue the mission of both organizations to create a responsible and sustainable travel industry; a world that is safe and enjoyable for all.

 

Want to protect children in travel and tourism? Find out how you can become a member of The Code here.

ECPAT Austria welcomes three new child safe travel companies to The Code

On 3 June, Local Code Representatives ECPAT Austria welcomed Loro Trips, Karmalaya and TravelWorks to The Code during a signing ceremony in Salzburg.

As new members these companies have committed to take simple yet powerful steps to protect children from harm including training staff to respond to cases of exploitation, creating awareness amongst travellers and engaging partners and stakeholders to advance the fight to end the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism.

As the travel industry expands, so do the risks for children. In places like hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, massage parlours and even on the street in plain view, children are often at risk for sexual exploitation.

The travel industry and tourists are essential eyes and ears for law enforcement to identify and report suspected cases of sexual exploitation. The travel and tourism industry also has a responsibility to ensure that their facilities are not misused by travelling child sex offenders who, in a foreign country or place, feel a sense of anonymity and impunity.

 

Barbara Breidenbach of Loro Trips signs the agreement with The Code

 

Matthias Eckert of Karmalaya signs the agreement with The Code next to Catherine Maislinger of ECPAT

 

Stefanie Hargart of TravelWorks and Carherine Maislinger of ECPAT after signing the agreement with The Code

 

By joining The Code, travel and tourism companies gain access to practical tools and resources to use in their day to day business activities to keep children safe and join global leaders in responsible tourism.

Loro Trips, Karmalaya and TravelWorks are now in the process of adapting and implementing strong child protection policies with support from ECPAT Austria.

The Code currently has four members based in Austria and 15 members with operations. As new Local Code Representatives ECPAT Austria has had a very successful first year and are looking forward to sharing their achievements towards the end of 2019.

Want to protect children in travel and tourism? Find out how you can become a member of The Code here.

 

12 hotels join The Code to end the sexual exploitation of children in the Dominican Republic

12 hotels sign The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism in the Dominican Republic

Local Code Representatives ECPAT MAIS have officially welcomed 12 hotel companies as members of The Code in the Dominican Republic, in collaboration with UNICEF and Association of Hotels and Tourism Companies of Santo Domingo (AHSD), who also became a member.

The sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism is an ever pressing issue that requires the collaboration and leadership from the travel and tourism industry to ensure travelling child sex offenders to do not misuse their facilities to commit crimes against children. No country is immune to the sexual exploitation of children.

By becoming members of The Code they commit to ending the sexual exploitation of children by incorporating into their social responsibility policy a zero tolerance to child exploitation and training staff to detect and respond to suspected cases of sexual exploitation.

In addition, they will provide information to travellers and tourists through brochures, posters, videos, and visible messages in their facilities; introduce a clause in their contracts with suppliers establishing the common repudiation for the sexual exploitation of children and promote The Code as a best practice tool for responsible tourism among their partners and stakeholders

The new members of The Code along with AHSD, Casas del XVI Boutique Hotel El Embajador, a Royal Hideaway Hotel; Embassy Suites by Hilton; Hotel Hampton by Hilton; Hotel Hodelpa Nicolás de Ovando; Hotel Billini y Hotel Crowne Plaza, Asimismo, Hotel El Napolitano; Hotel JW Marriot; Hotel Radisson Santo Domingo; Hotel Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua;

 

ECPAT MAIS UNICEF members of The Code

 

The representative of UNICEF in the Dominican Republic, Rosa Elcarte, stressed the importance of working in partnership with the tourism sector to eradicate child sexual exploitation, which constitutes “a threat and a crime against the rights of children” and affirming that the prevention and elimination of child sexual exploitation “is only possible if civil society, communities, authorities and the private sector work together and in coordination.”

He also said that with membership to The Code “We will be able to attract more and better tourism, that would know that both their children and the children who live in the Dominican Republic are protected, and we will generate even more successful and sustainable businesses which will bring a greater development to the country.”

For his part, the founder of ECPAT MAIS, Luis Antonio Méndez Jiménez, as representative of The Code in the Dominican Republic, highlighted the country’s leadership as pioneers in the promotion of the tool: “the first global initiatives which prove The Code have taken place in the country in response to complaints about the use of the tourism sector for sexual exploitation purposes almost twenty years ago.”

The Code currently has 44 members based in the Dominican Republic and 57 with operations.

 

Read more in Spanish here.

MGM Resorts International strengthens commitment to ending child sexual exploitation by becoming a member of The Code

The Code is pleased to welcome MGM Resorts International as members of The Code in their continued commitment to protecting children in travel and tourism and ending human trafficking.

Through partnership with Local Code Representative ECPAT USA, MGM Resorts has committed to implementing the six criteria of The Code in order to prevent travelling child sex offenders from misusing their facilities to commit their crimes.

This is not the beginning for MGM Resorts who have already implemented several measures against human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, including establishing relevant policies, procedures and practices, as well as educating and training employees, which are three of the core criteria of The Code.

Becoming a member of The Code and partnering with ECPAT USA gives renewed focus to these commitments and provides an additional platform to reinforce its internal efforts with enhanced collaboration and engagement with external partners and resources.

“As a leader in the entertainment and hospitality industry, MGM Resorts has for many years taken a strong stand – as a matter of policy and business practices ‒ against human trafficking as a plague on human society that should not be tolerated in any community,” said Phyllis A. James, MGM’s Chief Diversity & Corporate Responsibility Officer.

Our Company has undertaken concrete steps to raise employee awareness, assure that our properties are not used to imperil children or other trafficking victims and support nonprofit organizations involved in combatting this social evil and/or providing victim services.”

About MGM

MGM Resorts International is an S&P 500® global entertainment company with national and international locations featuring best-in-class hotels and casinos, state-of-the-art meetings and conference spaces, incredible live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings.

More here.

Eagle Eye Treks commits to child protection in Nepal by becoming a member of The Code

The Code is pleased to welcome our newest members Eagle Eye Treks based in Nepal. As members of The Code, Eagle Eye Treks has made a commitment to preventing the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) through their business operations and activities.

Eagle Eye Treks is a leading Nepalese company in trekking, peak climbing, adventure travel, expedition, tours and research for individuals and small groups as well as the larger parties such as airline crews, college student groups, travel agents and business holidays tours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. Eagle Eye Treks also makes sure to positively impact local communities wherever they set foot.

“While doing business in this fast growing community and economy we should not forget to become responsible and ethical to this society.” – Dhiran Dhital of Eagle Eye Treks

No country is immune to the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism and this crime is becoming growing problem. Nepal is a targeted destination for travelling child sex offenders who wish to misuse travel and tourism facilities to commit their crimes. Offenders take advantage of vulnerable communities and weak legal systems where they can operate with impunity and anonymity.

The Code currently has four members based in Nepal and 16 members with operations in Nepal.

Eagle Eye Treks will begin training to support their staff to recognise and report suspected cases of exploitation and create awareness amongst their travellers and clients. These steps are part of the six criteria of The Code that members commit to.

The six criteria of The Code are to:

  1. Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children.
  2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases.
  3. Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
  4. Provide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.
  5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.
  6. Report annually on the implementation of the six criteria of The Code.

 

Meeting Professionals International commit to ending child sexual exploitation by becoming a member of The Code

The Code is pleased to announce that Meeting Professionals International (MPI) have become members of The Code in partnership with ECPAT-USA. During a live stream on April 4 2019 to celebrate Global Meetings Industry Day, MPI officially signed an agreement to cement their commitment to ending the sexual exploitation of children through implementing the six criteria of The Code.

The Code is a voluntary set of criteria designed for travel and tourism companies to ensure child sexual exploitation is prevented throughout all business activities and to end the impunity of offenders who misuse their facilities. This includes implementing strong policies and procedures for the protection of children and training for staff to recognise and report suspected cases of sexual exploitation.

The signing of The Code was led by CEO and President, Paul Van Deventer, VP of People and Performance, Diane Hawkins and COO, Darren Temple.

As a leader in the meetings and events industry, MPI assumes great responsibility to raising awareness about the human sex trafficking epidemic and advocating with our partners to take action against it,” said Paul Van Deventer, MPI president, and CEO. “The travel industry is a target for human traffickers and by educating the meetings and events industry about signs to look for, we hope to prevent potential abuse and keep children safe.”

MPI is the world’s largest meeting and event industry association and with a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals it has significant reach to bring attention and awareness to issue of child sexual exploitation.

Joining The Code is one step further in MPI’s commitment to human rights. In 2017, MPI first committed to join the fight to stop human trafficking, with a focus on ending the sexual exploitation of children. Over the past 18 months they have worked closely with ECPAT-USA and other organisations and have engaged the Meeting Professionals community through monthly articles in MPI’s publications, providing training to volunteer leaders, and offering educational programming. MPI has made a concerted effort to raise awareness of this crime, while also instructing on specific actions to prevent it.

Meeting and event professionals are in a unique position to raise awareness of and prevent child sex trafficking,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. “We’re excited to see a globally recognized organization like Meeting Professionals International take a leadership role on this issue. Through this partnership with MPI, we will be able to expand the fight to end exploitation to thousands of individuals in over a dozen countries around the world.”

ECPAT-USA supports 67 members of The Code based in the United States.

Read more about MPI’s commitment here.

TUI Mexico become members of The Code at International Forum on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism

Robbert van den Berg, Executive Director of ECPAT International/The Code Board officially welcomes Alberto Cervera, Head of TUI Mexico to The Code

On Wednesday 13 March, The Code officially welcomed TUI Mexico, alongside 11 RIU Hotels as members at the International Forum on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism in Cancún, Mexico. As members TUI Mexico increase their commitment to protecting children and join global leaders in the fight against sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism by implementing the six criteria of The Code.

The six criteria of The Code are to:

  1. Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children.
  2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases.
  3. Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
  4. Provide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.
  5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.
  6. Report annually on the implementation of the six criteria of The Code.

TUI Mexico are supported in country by Local Code Representative ECPAT Mexico who work directly with travel and tourism industry partners to end child sexual exploitation, particularly in Cancún.

“Children are the most vulnerable group to face exploitation of all kinds. All parts of society must join forces to protect children at risk of exploitation: government and industry as well as NGOs, foundations and other actors of civil society. Moreover, children themselves, especially girls, should be empowered and given the opportunity to reach their full potential”, said Lidewij Helmich, Head of Educational Programmes, TUI Care Foundation.

The sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism knows no bounds and no country is immune – popular and fast growing tourist destinations are especially facing this problem with authorities facing multiple challenges in ensuring child protection measures are matched. According to estimates from local police in Cancun 30 to 40% of female victims of sexual exploitation are children, says ECPAT Mexico’s Norma Negrete. Whilst government has the utmost responsibility for the protection of children, the travel and tourism industry also has an essential role in preventing child sex offenders who take advantage of and misuse their facilities and therefore stopping the sexual exploitation of children in its tracks.

“Eyes and ears are needed everywhere to ensure children are safe from travelling child sex offenders,” said Robbert van den Berg, Executive Director of ECPAT International at the forum. “Hotel workers, taxi drivers, travel agents, waiters – and especially travellers and tourists themselves need to report when they see something suspicious.”

Representatives from TUI Mexico, ECPAT Mexico, ECPAT International, Defence for Children NL and The Code

Prior to the official signing ceremony, TUI Mexico began implementing the six criteria of The Code in partnership with ECPAT Mexico by training staff on the issue of sexual exploitation of children and how to recognise and report suspected cases. When staff are equipped with tools and knowledge they are empowered to act and report suspected cases to authorities, preventing harm to children and ending the impunity of offenders to who rely on their crimes going untold.

27 TUI Mexico employees complete their child protection training delivered by ECPAT Mexico

 

About the International Forum

On 13 to 14 March 2019, the travel and tourism industry, governments and civil society gathered in Cancún, Mexico, to share best practices and strategies in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism and to discuss how to work towards a safe environment for children. The Forum was supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TUI Care Foundation and TUI Mexico and organized by ECPAT Mexico, Defence for Children – ECPAT Netherlands and ECPAT International.

The Code welcomes three new members during ITB Berlin 2019

The Code officially signed and welcomed three new members Dein Marokko, Akwaba Afrika and Sudafrika Hautnah in partnership with ECPAT Germany, during this year’s ITB Berlin. As members they now join over 300 global leaders in an industry-driven, multi-stakeholder mission to end the sexual exploitation of children and will be given access to tools, support and training to implement the six criteria of The Code.

As the world’s leading travel trade show ITB Berlin is an important gathering of the world’s leading stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry for networking, knowledge-sharing and discussion of emerging travel trends. ITB Berlin and Asia are proud members of The Code as well as several of ITB’s over 10,000 exhibitors of the annual event.

Sustainable, ethical and responsible tourism is a growing priority for the industry with several key ITB Berlin events this year focusing on respect for human rights and environmental conservation.

The Code also signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to expand standards for the protection of children as well as other measures to end this crime, with GSTC encouraging membership of The Code as a practical means of implementing child protection standards in order to meet global accreditation.

Dein Marokko

Akwaba Afrika

Sudafrika Hautnah

The Code delivered a session in partnership with Local Code Representative EQUATIONS India on ‘addressing child protection in the travel and tourism industry as a matter of urgency’. Joyatri Ray of EQUATIONS presented a case study focus on trends and challenges in addressing travelling child sex offenders in India as tourism has boomed, with the country expected to rank top fifth in the business travel market globally by 2030. The session also addressed the practical solutions and steps that the travel and tourism industry can take to address this crime.

Theo Noten, ECPAT Netherlands/The Code Board moderates the ITB Berlin session on child protection in travel and tourism with Joyatri Ray, EQUATIONS & Damien Brosnan, The Code

 

Winika Resorts joins The Code to fight sexual exploitation of children in Mexico

We are pleased to welcome our newest members Winika Resorts based in Mexico to The Code through partnership with our Local Code Representative ECPAT Mexico.

Unfortunately many offenders take advantage of hotel facilities to commit their crimes but by adhering to the six criteria of The Code Winika Resorts will be able to recognise the signs and stop the sexual exploitation of children before it happens. Winika Resorts joins seven members based in Mexico and 31 members with operations in Mexico.

As part of their commitment to The Code, last month Winika Resorts began training their staff on child rights and travel and tourism industry as well as how to report suspected cases of child sexual exploitation.

Winika Resorts trains staff on child rights and how to prevent and report child sexual exploitation.

 

The six criteria of The Code are to:

  1. Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children.
  2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases.
  3. Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
  4. Provide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.
  5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.
  6. Report annually on the implementation of the six criteria of The Code.

 

Hotel Aixo Suites commits to ending the sexual exploitation of children by becoming a member of The Code

We are pleased to announce that Hotel Aixo Suites has become the latest member to join The Code from Colombia and commit to ending the sexual exploitation of children. As a hotel company, they are directly positioned to stop this crime in its tracks.

Unfortunately many offenders take advantage of hotel facilities to commit their crimes but by adhering to the six criteria of The Code including training staff on how to respond and report, Hotel Aixo Suites will be able to recognise the signs and stop the sexual exploitation of children before it happens.

Aixo Hotel Suites staff proudly show off their Code membership.

Hotel Aixo Suites join a long and growing list of members in Colombia who have joined The Code. Currently there are 81 members who are based in or operating in Colombia with 13 of those meeting top member status.

By going above and beyond to implement the six criteria of The Code, Hotel Aixo Suites will also soon be able to achieve top member status and affirm their company as a global leader in protecting children in their industry.

The six criteria of The Code are to:

  1. Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children.
  2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases.
  3. Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
  4. Provide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.
  5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.
  6. Report annually on the implementation of the six criteria of The Code.