The Code workshop: eye-opener for tourism professionals in Bangkok and Pattaya

Last week, 1 – 2 November, we gathered staff from hotels, tour operators and other tourism companies based in Thailand, to find ways to combat child sex tourism together.

Provided with necessary tools and hotlines to report cases as well as information about the issue, participants left the workshops feeling better equipped to face situations in their daily work.

During the two day workshop, staff from major tourism companies such as Accor Hotels, Apollo – Kuoni, Asia Web Direct and Pullman Pattaya, as well as smaller tourism businesses, gathered to learn how to protect children through a responsible tourism sector.

The workshops were carried out in Thai and English and were designed to encourage open dialogue and sharing of experiences.

In addition to general facts about the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children, the participants were presented real-life cases from Thailand and South-East Asia. The facts and cases provoked some reactions:

“The punishment doesn’t reflect the grave nature of the crime,” one participant criticized. Others stated that they didn’t know the issue of child sex tourism was so wide-spread and saw this presentation as a real eye-opener.

According to feedback from the participants, 100% of them gained a clearer understanding of the issue of child sex tourism through the workshops, and 99% would try to take action to report future cases.

Reporting forms, hotline numbers and warning signs to look for were much appreciated elements for the staff, easing the obstacle of taking action in actual situations they may encounter.

“To meet the staff and be able to discuss directly with them is highly valuable to us, in order to understand their challenges and develop the tools that empowers them to actively protect children from sexual exploitation within the tourism industry,” says Patchareeboon Sakulpitakphon,  The Code’s Project Manager and facilitator of the workshops.

“It is also critical to get their feedback on awareness-raising material and training programmes that we are currently working on.”

The workshops are part of the implementation of the second phase of the anti-child sex tourism initiative in Thailand, supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs with ECPAT Netherlands.

The Code thanks everyone who attended this time and hopes to see even more people in the next workshops, which will be held early next year. More information on this will be posted on our website, stay tuned.

For more photos, see our Facebook page.

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