130,000 strong tourism defense force trained to protect children

Over one hundred and thirty thousand tourism heroes around the world were trained through The Code last year to help protect children from sexual exploitation in contexts of travel and tourism. In March, The Code will be sharing interactive demonstrations of their online training program at ITB Berlin.

Today, an estimated 2 million children are sexually exploited in contexts of travel and tourism. Offenders travel to developing countries where poverty, weak law enforcement, and low awareness of the crime leave children more vulnerable.

Child sexual abusers may utilize tourism infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants, and transport, meaning tourism staff are in a unique position to help keep children safe.

The Code is a voluntary code of conduct for the protection of children in travel and tourism. As an industry led responsible tourism initiative, The Code provides awareness, tools and support to tourism companies to help end the sexual exploitation of children in contexts of travel and tourism.

Member companies sign The Code and agree to take six concrete actions that will help to keep children safe, including implementing child protection policies and procedures and training staff how to recognize and report suspected abuse.

From 5 to 9 March 2014 The Code will be attending ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, to raise awareness of the global problem of child sex tourism, showcase the inspiring work of the hundreds of tourism companies around the world who are already taking action, and recruit new companies to join the program.

The Code’s presence at ITB Berlin is sponsored as part of a development partnership with Code member companies Kuoni, Accor Hotels, TUI Travel, and ITB Messe as part of the develoPPP.de programme that Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Over the last year an online training program has been designed through the partnership to help tourism staff learn how to recognize and report cases of child sexual abuse.

Ten training modules have been developed using scenarios relevant to diverse tourism staff functions, from cleaners to management. The training is now available in 10 languages with more translations planned for 2014.

Last year 133,066 tourism staff around the world were trained through The Code, forming a global tourism defence force for the protection of children.

During ITB, responsible tourism companies are invited to visit The Code’s at booth 218 in Hall 4.1 to experience the interactive training for themselves and learn more about the benefits of joining The Code including adding child protection to their company’s repertoire of responsible tourism initiatives.

Matthias Leisinger is both Head of Corporate Responsibility at Kuoni Group, Switzerland’s largest travel company and Top Member of The Code, and Chairman of The Code’s Board of Directors.

He explains:

It is important that staff learn how to recognise abuse and also that they feel empowered to speak up when they see something untoward.

The actions companies take when joining The Code have been special designed to weave child protection into the heart of company practice. It’s about companies taking real action to benefit real children.

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