6 JUNE 2018, Bogotá, Colombia – Representatives of governments, travel businesses, law enforcement agencies, UN agencies and civil society organizations, from more than 25 countries, are gathering on 6-7 June in Bogotá to agree an action agenda to end the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in travel and tourism.
The International Summit on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism, hosted by the Government of Colombia in partnership with the High-Level Task Force on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism; UNICEF; UNODC; WTTC and ECPAT International will bring together more than 400 participants to commit to reinforced action. This will include pledging to raise awareness about the sexual exploitation of children; tackling child trafficking; adhering to codes of conduct; regulating ‘voluntourism’ in institutions where children are present; and increasing the training of staff to recognize when children are in danger of being trafficked or sexually exploited.
“This Summit is an example of the Colombian Government’s commitment to responsible tourism” said Sandra Howard Taylor, Vice Minister of Tourism from the Colombian Government, and host of the event. “We strive to prevent exploitation of children in tourism. The principal result of this Summit will be the signing of a declaration from private and public sector, to enforce policy and actions to protect children. Colombia is a country known for many good practices in tourism and has already taken many actions, including for protecting children. Almost all tourism companies in Colombia, approximately 25,000, have joined Government tourism programmes to prevent and respond to the exploitation of children.”
Delegates are expected to agree to a plan, aligned with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and recommendations of the Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism. The Summit urges governments, the private sector, law enforcement agencies, UN agencies and civil society organisations to better protect children from trafficking and travelling child sex offenders. This includes, in particular, more coordination of multi-faceted stakeholders.
Speaking on behalf of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global authority on the economic and social contribution of travel and tourism, Helen Marano, Executive Vice President, commented, “Today’s Summit is an important step towards recognising the many companies that are standard bearers in the sector for this critical issue. They serve as an inspiration for all businesses to take on child protection needs in training and everyday operations. The commitments that are to be articulated in the declaration will spur stronger partnerships. WTTC stands behind a robust commitment with the Council’s Members to support meeting the critical need for child protection in all forms across the Travel and Tourism industry. We are proud of the collaborative efforts of the Summit’s participants and encourage industry members to follow suit.”
The travel and tourism sector has grown substantially in recent years. It contributes 10.4 per cent to global GDP and 1 in 10 jobs, with a forecasted 4 per cent average annual growth over the next ten years. The UN World Tourism Organization projects 1.8 billion travellers by 2030. This growth provides wider and easier access for all travellers and underscores the need for the stronger measures for child protection.
Many countries lack sufficient legislation to stop or deter travelling child sex offenders, who often take advantage of poverty, social exclusion, and weak laws that offer a culture of impunity. In recent years, increasing innovation in the travel and tourism industry has added to the risks. In addition, the Internet facilitates access to travel options, but can also enables the dangers of travelling child sex offenders to exploit children.
Notes to editors:
For further enquiries:
Julián David Gamarra Manrique, Office of the Colombian Vice Ministry of Tourism (Bogota, Colombia). email@example.com, + 57 606 7676 ext 2346, +57 3193944564
The Summit is organized and hosted by:
About WTTC: The World Travel & Tourism Council is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Every year WTTC, together with Oxford Economics, produces its flagship Economic Impact Report, which looks at the socioeconomic benefits of Travel & Tourism on global, regional and country level. This year the report shows data on 25 regional groupings and 185 countries. The sector contributes US$8.3 trillion or 10.4 per cent of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account. The sector also accounts for 313 million jobs or one in ten of all jobs on the planet.
About UNICEF: UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook
About UNODC: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime. It operates in all regions of the world through an extensive network of field offices. Its work includes assisting states to ratify and implement relevant international treaties and to develop domestic legislation on drugs, terrorism and crimes, such as human trafficking. Since 2015, UNODC has led a programme called “Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants,” funded by the European Union and implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration and UNICEF, which reaches 13 countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. This work falls under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which calls for an end to trafficking and violence against children.
About the High-Level Task Force on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism: The high-level task force guided the development of the Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism. Its mandate is the elimination of the sexual exploitation of children through the implementation of the recommendations of the global study.
About ECPAT: ECPAT International is a global network of organizations dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children. With more than 100 members in 93 countries, ECPAT focuses on stopping: the trafficking of children for sexual purposes; child and early forced marriage; online child sexual exploitation; and the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism sector. The ECPAT International Secretariat is based in Bangkok Thailand. For more information, go to www.ecpat.org