900 Swiss firms to stop child sex tourism
An organisation of 900 Swiss companies aims to protect the 1.8 million children who are exploited in commercial child sex tourism each year.18 November 2008
GENEVA - An organisation representing 900 Swiss companies has signed an agreement to crack down on commercial child sex tourism, an official with the Swiss Federation of Travel Agencies said Monday.
"We want our members to inform their clients and partners in different countries about the protection of children there," Sandra Gonzales with the SVR, the federation's German initials, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The organisation also called on tourists to report any illegal activities at their holiday destinations to the Swiss Federal Police, via an online form that was first made available over the summer.
Over 800 firms and associations in 31 countries had already signed the code before the Swiss federation joined in a little-publicised move in late October.
According to the International Labour Organisation, some 1.8 million children are exploited in commercial sexual abuse each year. Some 800,000 minors are caught up in the practice in Thailand alone. In Brazil, half a million children are reportedly used by the sex tourism industry.
Residents of Western countries with tough laws banning sexual relations with children sometimes take advantage of poor countries with lax rules, travelling there with the specific intention of sexually exploiting children. Others consider the idea once it is suggested by local operators at the holiday destination.
Under the agreement, members of the organisation are committed to try to stop the practice and protect children from abusive tourism. Steps will be taken to train tourism workers about sexual exploitation and inform tourists about the problem.
The organisation will hand out over 100,000 information pamphlets to travellers about the issue.
Possible sanctions against partners could include stopping work with hotels and other establishments that condone the sexual abuse of children – measures that were adopted by individual Swiss firms in the past.
[dpa / Expatica]