With the growth of technology, traffickers and pimps are moving their business off the streets and onto the Internet, behind closed doors and out of sight. Trafficked victims are bought and sold in hotel rooms and exploited in prostitution. A trafficker may check into a hotel and run their business out of the rooms, unbeknownst to the employees, or use the hotel to meet with sex buyers.
When asked, service providers and law enforcement agencies report that almost every single pimped victim that came in contact with has been exploited at one point in hotels.
Are you ready to help?
TOURISM CHILD-PROTECTION CODE OF CONDUCT – “The Code“
The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct is the only voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent child sex tourism and trafficking of children. The Code is a joint venture between the tourism private sector and ECPAT. Companies that endorse The Code are supported by ECPAT-USA to:
- To establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children.
- To train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases.
- To include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
- To provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.
- To support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.
- To report annually on their implementation of Code related activities.
*Signatories are required by the Code of Conduct Steering Committee to pay annual fees based on their revenues per year.
THE GUIDELINES – What do they mean?
Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children. Official policies send a message to staff that putting an end to the commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking is important to the company. Policies also alert staff that engagement in exploitative behaviors is not tolerated and empowers them to become knowledgeable on indicators of trafficking so they can report their suspicions. Employees will also build a sense of pride for their responsible employers.
In addition, a company must provide their employees with a protocol (procedure) for responding to any suspicions of exploitation. Employees must know what to look forand what to do should they suspect trafficking is occurring.
Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases. Employee training is the mechanism for sensitizing employees about the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking. Employees who are well-trained on the issue will comfortably execute their company’s protocol for responding to the issue. This prevents employees from frantically reacting to situations, which could lead to violence from an exploiter or an unnecessary scene. This issue should become part of on-the-job training.
Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children. Official clauses in contracts with suppliers send a zero-tolerance message to partners letting them know that they should not look away when they suspect trafficking. They will alert business partners about your important corporate commitment to child protection. Importantly clauses can encourage partners to examine their supply chain and role in mitigating trafficking. Keep track of the number of contracts where this clause is introduced.
Provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases. Members of The Code are in a unique position to raise awareness to the general public about the issue and how travelers should report suspicious activity while traveling with the company.
Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children. “Key persons” are individuals the company cooperates with to raise awareness about the issue and that The Code is a tool fight child trafficking. This includes reaching out to governments, law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, associations, etc.
Report annually on their implementation of Code related activities. The Code has an online portal where companies can update implementation over the year. At the end of each year, the information will be transferred into an online report. Companies can add additional items, programs, events, or instances they have expanded their work and then submit the report to the Code Board. Members have the option to make this report public on The Code’s website but it is not mandatory.
Coming Soon: ECPAT-USA’s Comprehensive Industry Guide for Stopping Child Slavery in the Travel.
Implementation: As a now official member of the Code, you gain access to ECPAT-USA staff as a resource for you implementation. We will work with you to implement the plans outlined in your Action Plan, including providing you with sample policy, clauses, and staff training. ECPAT-USA can also provide you with regional law enforcement and service provider contacts.
Fees: As a member of the Code, signatories are required to pay a small membership fee to the Code of Conduct International Secretariat, based on the size of their company. The fee covers the use of the Code logo in your promotion materials and allows the Code International to expand the awareness activities and outreach in the travel sector. In 2013, the Code will release a Contact Relation Management System (CRM) that will provide signatories with new tools and services for member companies.
Reporting: At the end of each year, signatories must report annually on their developments for Code implementation. The first year reporting form is longer and includes information on the signing event, additional years are shorter. ECPAT-USA assists signatories in their reporting and works to plan activities for the following year.
Please contact Michelle Guelbart for a reporting form.