The 2016 Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism suggested that low-cost airlines, more travel for business and labour, cheaper forms of tourism and rapid tourism development often expose children to greater risks.
With Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tourism industry steadily growing, the risk of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism is also growing.
In 2017 tourist arrivals to Bosnia and Herzegovina increased by 7.2% from the previous year. This is consistent with the global increase of 7% for the same period. Despite the many benefits that tourism can bring, we know that if left unchecked that it can also increase the risk for sexual exploitation of children.
The latest ECPAT report has found that child trafficking is increasing in Bosnia and Herzegovina domestically and as a transit destination. The report also highlights that a lack of adequate legal frameworks is leaving children without protection and giving traffickers and travelling child sex offenders greater opportunity to offend, as well as a sense of anonymity and impunity.
Despite a lack of legal frameworks, travel and tourism companies are taking initiative to actively prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
Three companies with operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Adventure Travel and Trade Association, Altruvistas and ANWB Reizen Beheer BV have become top members and are now annually reporting against the six criteria of The Code.
The six criteria of The Code include establishing child protection policies and procedures, training staff on how to prevent and report the sexual exploitation of children, including a specific child protection clause in supplier contracts, creating awareness among travelers, engaging and collaborating with stakeholders and reporting annually on how companies meet these criteria.
Ending the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism is everyone’s responsibility. As offenders increasingly utilize tourism infrastructure to commit these crimes, the travel and tourism industry is therefore uniquely positioned to stop this directly in its tracks.