UNWTO and World Vision Join Forces to Fight Child Exploitation in Tourism

Published on May 15, 2014 in eTurboNews

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As tourism continues to grow globally, particularly in Southeast Asia, it is becoming increasingly urgent to consider its impact on local communities, particularly where this relates to child exploitation. This is why the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and World Vision East Asia Regional Office have signed a Memorandum of Understanding forging a partnership aimed at fighting the exploitation of children in the tourism sector.

The MOU aims to enhance the collaboration between UNWTO and World Vision (WV), a relief, development and advocacy organization working to protect children from exploitation, trafficking and abuse.

Areas of future cooperation between UNWTO and WV include the promotion of tools, good practices and case studies to support child protection in tourism, comprising the WV-coordinated Child Safe Tourism Campaign, endorsed by the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, which informs travelers on the actions they can take to protect children and young people from abuse in tourism destinations.

“The growth of the World Vision has always been appreciated as a very committed and active partner of the UNWTO” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“In South East Asia, World Vision has a number of programs dedicated to reducing harm to children from abuse, exploitation and trafficking, including in the tourism sector. Tourism is growing rapidly in this region bringing many opportunities as well as some risks to children. For this reason we are pleased to be joining forces with UNWTO in our joint sustainable approach to child safe tourism” said World Vision East Asia Director for Integrated Ministry, Warren Climenhaga.

UNWTO has been working in the same sphere through the World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism) for more than 15 years now. Set to prevent all forms of child and youth exploitation within the tourism sector, the Network serves as a platform for tourism stakeholders and other relevant actors to exchange experiences and promote the adoption of responsible policies and business practices in line with the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

The tourism sector brings important development opportunities, but also immense challenges, affecting namely the most vulnerable groups of society. Children and youth are particularly at risk, and it is imperative that the tourism sector stakeholders work together to tackle the pressing issue of child exploitation.

World Tourism Network on Child Protection and we are very happy to be able to join our efforts in fighting such a hideous practice as child exploitation.

On the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection, UNWTO has launched a Compilation of Good Practices showcasing 16 of the more than 170 initiatives and reports shared through the Network since 1997.

Useful links:

Global Code of Ethics