Expatica news

Germany, Austria, Swiss move to fight sex tourism

Governments and the travel industry in German-speaking Europe launched a joint campaign against sex tourism Monday aimed at protecting children in poor countries from exploitation.

The “Don’t Look Away” drive in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is an attempt to encourage holiday-makers to help if they suspect a child is at risk of sexual abuse, the German economy and family ministries said in a statement.

They said UNICEF estimated that some two million children in tourist destinations fall victim to sexual violence and exploitation each year.

“Those who take action can help uncover and prevent sexual violence against children,” a state secretary at the family ministry, Hermann Kues, told reporters.

The campaign has produced a short educational video called “Witness” which several major tour operators said they would use.

Each of the participating countries have set up an official contact e-mail address for travellers and tourism industry staff to report suspicious activity to the authorities.

Children’s charity Terre des Hommes said there were some 10,000 sex tourists from Germany alone preying on children.

The group estimates that criminal gangs dealing in child prostitution and child pornography draw more than 5.5 billion euros (7.4 billion dollars) in revenue annually.

The campaign was launched by the German, Austrian and Swiss governments as well as the ECPAT children’s rights organisation linking 29 groups and institutions.