The annual meeting of the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct takes place in March each year. As usual this year it was held in Berlin to coincide with ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair.
Thirty eight U.S. companies having joined the Code to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children from sexual exploitation. Around the world more than 300 companies are members of the Code.
The annual Code meeting is an opportunity for companies and ECPAT groups from around the world to share best practices, discuss their mutual work to implement the Code and decide how to move forward together.
These are some of the highlights:
A new policy on “voluntourism” was approved. Voluntourism is a form of travel which gives tourists the ability to work on projects helping local charities. It was noted that the UN World Tourism Organization is debating a new international convention on sustainable tourism. ECPAT’s Global Study on Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism has been rolled out around the world. The extensive recommendations have implications for how the Code should be expanded and implemented. The report includes separate publications focusing on each region of the world including North America. ECPAT continues to promote these recommendations. There may be changes to the international structure of the Code. For the past year it has been housed at and supported by ECPAT International in Bangkok. ECPAT has been the driving force behind the Code for many years. ECPAT national groups around the world work in partnership with companies and facilitate their implement of the Code through technical assistance, training assistance and advice on best practices.