France urges EU action against child sex tourism

20th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

VALLETTA, Oct 20 (AFP) - France's Tourism Minister Leon Bertrand said Thursday the European Union needed a new impetus in its drive to fight the sexual exploitation of minors in tourism.

VALLETTA, Oct 20 (AFP) - France's Tourism Minister Leon Bertrand said Thursday the European Union needed a new impetus in its drive to fight the sexual exploitation of minors in tourism.

Bertrand told a meeting of EU tourism ministers in Malta more than three million children were still victims of sexual exploitation in tourism despite an increasing number of European initiatives.

He called for an increased commitment from tourist industry professionals through a new charter being proposed by France.

The French proposals include the establishment of an informal group which would enable the exchange of best practices between the 25 EU states, and a website on which member-states could post up to date information about sexual tourism and the countries affected.

"It is the ethical responsibility of Europe to do this," Bertrand told AFP on the sidelines of the conference.

France advocates preventive action in the affected countries including measures to keep children away from prostitution.

"We are at a point (at which) we cannot go beyond. There is a limit how far NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) could go. We should not only just rely on NGOs, but governments themselves must get involved", he said.

"If Europe starts working on the issue, because Europe is seen as a reference, we would have taken a great step forward".

On development aid, the French minister said governments should target those countries where this problem exists.

Bertrand said that he has been working with his Austrian counterpart to put the issue on the agenda during the Austrian presidency which starts January 1.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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