Travel Companies Honored For Fighting Sex Trafficking

Six organizations selected as the top members of The Code organization for 2023.

Recently, The Code, a multi-stakeholder initiative with the mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the travel and tourism industry to prevent the sexual exploitation of children, recognized its six top member companies for 2023. The companies were selected due to their efforts to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in their activities, and throughout their chain of value, rigorously implementing the Six Criteria of The Code. In many cases they even exceeded these standards. The companies honored are:

  • InterContinental Hotels Group (United States)
  • Amarillo International Airport (United States)
  • Der Touristik Koning Aap (Germany)
  • Shoestring YourWay2Go (The Netherlands)
  • Concesionaria Vuela Compañía de Aviación SAPI de CV (VOLARIS, Mexico)
  • Vögele Reisen AG (Switzerland)

The honorees come from different regions around the world and represent a variety of travel and tourism sectors such as: airports, air transport, hotels, travel agencies and tour operators. “Putting a stop to trafficking requires deep collaboration and commitment, from the hotel training we require across more than 4,300 Americas IHG hotels to partnering with our industry, non-profits and government,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts.

The sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) encompasses a broad spectrum of exploitation of children including in prostitution and pornography, for the production of online child abuse material, and in the sale and trafficking of children in all its forms. Voluntourism, orphanage tourism and mega-events are all examples where offenders can easily access and exploit children.

The Code was formed after the first World Congress Against Sexual Exploitation of Children in 1996, ECPAT Sweden developed The Code in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and several Swedish tour operators.

The Code was then spread worldwide through partnerships with the ECPAT network, UNWTO, and UNICEF. Companies can become members of the organization and begin implementing The Code’s voluntary set of criteria that members commit to, to keep children safe. “There are many examples of companies and individuals in the travel and tourism sectors taking a stand against this crime. A strong focus on prevention could be a game changer for these sectors, positioning them as key players in the solution, rather than being seen as fuelling the problem,” said Carol Bellamy, UNWTO Chair.

The criteria are as follows:

1. Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children and regulation of the voluntourism.

2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases.

3. Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.

4. Provide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.

5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.

6. Report annually on the implementation of the six criteria of The Code.

To gain access to tools and support, to join global leaders and create a child safe business that attracts responsible customers. Start here

Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary(Monty) on Unsplash

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