TUI Mexico become members of The Code at International Forum on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism
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:
- Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children.
- Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases.
- Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
- Provide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.
- Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.
- 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.”
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.
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.