Tourism Industry Takes Action against Child Prostitution

The ″Code of Conduct″ (CC) for the Protection of Children from Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Tourism has reached the tourism industry. It has so far been signed by more than 600 companies and associations in more than 23 countries. According to the child rights organisation ECPAT, it has thus become a key instrument for the tourism industry in the fight against child prostitution.

The signatories have founded their own organisation, ″The Code″, which is registered in Sweden and currently has its office at ECPAT USA in New York. A uniform logo has been developed, as well as globally applicable procedures both for the signing and for implementing the Code of Conduct. The new uniform procedures allow for increased transparency and better quality management, which became urgently necessary in order to meet the growing demands and to ensure the sustainability of the Code of Conduct, says Kaspar Hess (Hotelplan Switzerland), president of the international organisation of the ″Code″.

Only the tourism industry (tour operators, hotels, etc.) can sign the Code of Conduct. It is countersigned by the ECPAT groups in the respective countries. Their role is to assist companies in the introduction and implementation of the Code of Conduct. For example, they offer training programmes for tourism enterprises. Since the annual meeting in March 2007 in Berlin, the self-financing of ″The Code″ has also been solved, says Mechtild Maurer, director of ECPAT Germany. The signatories are to pay a service fee from 2009. Furthermore, clear, practical details have been presented as to how to implement the Code of Conduct in different ways, depending on whether the company is a tour operator, travel agent or hotel. As one of the members, the German Church Development Service (EED) supports and promotes the work of ECPAT.

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(June 2007, TW 47)