Travel sector and global leaders commit to child protection from traveling child sex offenders

Travel sector and global leaders commit to child protection from traveling child sex offenders

An International Summit on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism will take place at the Agora Bogota Convention Center in the Avenida Calle 24 # 38 – 47 in Bogota, DC, Colombia, from Wednesday, June 6, to Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Travel and tourism has expanded rapidly around the globe in recent years, and nations are benefiting from this growth. This industry employs millions, generates billions in income, and has the potential to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. However, as travelers explore more of the world, so too do those who would harm children by sexually exploiting or abusing them.

In all areas frequented by national and international tourists, and business travelers, children are at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation. Offenders frequently take advantage of poverty, social exclusion, weak laws, and a culture of impunity.

Victims can be exploited anywhere, including restaurants, hotels, bars, and massage parlors as well as on the street and in private both at night and in broad daylight.

No region is untouched by this crime, as no country is immune, especially with the ease with which offenders can establish contact with their victims through tools and platforms offered by Internet and communication technologies, including mobile phones.

A closing address and media conference featuring the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, will take place on June 7 at 1700 hours.

Notable attendees include:
• Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President of Colombia
• Honorable Sandra Howard, Vice Minister of Tourism, Government of Colombia and former Chair of UNWTO General Assembly
• Maria Lorena Gutiérrez, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Government of Colombia
• Griselda Restrepo, Minister of Labor, Government of Colombia
• Mariama Mohamed Cisse, Acting director of the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union and Coordinator, African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)
• Helen Marano, Executive Vice-President, External Affairs, World Travel and Tourism Council
• Philip K.H. Ma, Vice Chairman of China Chamber of Tourism
• Alejandro Varela, Deputy Director for the Americas, United Nations World Tourism Organization
• Cornelius Williams, Global Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF
• George Nikolaidis, Chair of the Lanzarote Committee, Council of Europe
• Bjorn Sellstrom, Coordinator Crimes against children Team, INTERPOL Headquarters
• Ms. Margaret Akullo, Project Coordinator for GLO.ACT, UNODC HQ in Vienna

The summit is organized and hosted by: The Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism; The Tourism Authority of the Capital District of Bogota; The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The Colombian Child Protection Authority; and Fundación Renacer/ECPAT Colombia. It is co-organized by: The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), The High-Level Task Force on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and ECPAT International.

The Summit is a follow-up to the Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism, the first ever consolidated effort by 67 partners to understand the global nature and scope of this crime. The study sets out recommendations that require concerted action from the UN, governments, NGOs, police, and tourist focused businesses. The meeting will reach consensus on how to further implement these recommendations.

Questions will be taken during all sessions by participants and journalists are welcome to attend any session. The media may apply for accreditation and registration here.