Africa Conference on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism From Recommendations to Commitments and Action, 7 May 2018: |
The conference explored accelerated actions for implementation of the Recommendations of the Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (SECTT) and provided a roadmap for Africa to address this worldwide challenge. The Global Study was developed in cooperation with 67 partners worldwide. The Study has 46 sector-specific recommendations for various stakeholders including the private sector (such as travel and tourism companies, the ICT industry and companies whose staff members travel for business).
The Recommendations fall under five different intervention areas: awareness raising, prevention, reporting, ending impunity, access to justice and care and recovery. They are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a number of which relate to child protection and sustainable tourism. The Study was guided by a High-Level Taskforce and informed by detailed studies from every region and several countries, as well as contributions from experts and children. It presents the most up to date picture of the problem of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, including in Africa and its Recommendations are key for improving private sector responses to prevent and combat this crime. Its findings confirm that no region is untouched by this challenge and no country is ‘immune’.
The rationale for the Conference
Two years after the launch of the Global Study, the need for coordinated efforts to ensure systemic translation of commitments into action cannot be over-emphasised. This has been called for at various meetings including a Conference on Combatting Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (SECTT) held in South Africa in June 2017, and the ‘Transition Meeting’ for the Global Study, hosted in Madrid by the UNWTO in July 2017. At both meetings, key stakeholders, as well as partners of the Global Study, called for coordinated action for combatting SECTT and committed to concrete actions against SECTT. At the South Africa Conference, a call for a Regional Conference on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism was made by the then-Chairperson of the UNWTO Commission for Africa.
As States and the private sector seek to promote Sustainable Tourism for Development, children’s right to protection from violence and exploitation should be at the heart of all actions within the framework of ethical and responsible business practices.
The private sector is a key stakeholder in ensuring that effective mechanisms are put in place for tourism to thrive sustainably, without subjecting children to any form of exploitation. Thus, there is a need to continuously promote and facilitate the implementation of the Global Study Recommendations to ensure that child protection remains in the tourism agenda. Various stakeholders in the region have already taken steps in child protection or are already in the process of doing so. These include the Africa Airlines Association (AFRAA), airline companies (such as South African Airways, Rwanda Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways), ACCOR Hotels in Africa and Fair Trade and Travel (FTT).
Globally, major hotel and travel companies have been standard-bearers in the application of The Code of Conduct for the protection of children in travel and tourism, such as Carlson Wagonlit Travels, AccorHotels, Hilton and TUI. A number of companies, including well-known brands such as Marriott, Uber USA and American Airlines have acknowledged the gravity of the problem and have also decided to join The Code. In view of these developments, and as a build-up to the International Summit, regional conferences on child protection in travel and tourism were held. In Africa, the Ministry of Tourism in South Africa hosted this event, prior to the Africa Travel Indaba, which brings together the private sector from across Africa.
The Conference had the following sub-objectives:
- To facilitate high-level dialogue with representatives of the tourism industry to enhance responsible business practices in protecting children in travel and tourism.
- To share promising practices by leading travel and tourism companies in Africa with the view of providing a regional contribution to the International Summit on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism that resulted in formulating global commitments.
- To enhance regional cooperation to ensure child protection in travel and tourism.
The format of the Conference
The conference was multi-sectoral and organised in partnership and collaboration of key stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry such as the UNWTO Commission for Africa, tourism ministries for national governments, African regional entities, UN agencies, private sector representatives and CSOs.
The format of the conference comprised of keynote speeches by high-level representatives from tourism ministries and the private sector. There were panel discussions and dialogue by key stakeholders to share their practices and commitment towards child protection in travel and tourism. The conference was scheduled to coincide with the African Travel Indaba to maximise and build on growing commitments of tourism ministries towards sustainable and responsible tourism and to ensure a wide scope of participation from the industry itself.
The conference was expected to adopt a Private Sector Commitment to Child Protection in Travel and Tourism in Africa, which was presented to the UNWTO Commission for Africa’s annual conference and the International Summit on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism, both of which were held in June 2018 in Nigeria and Colombia respectively.
The Conference gathered participants from African governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions (RECs), the private sector (including hotels, airline companies, travel agencies and tour operators, taxi companies, ICT companies and banks), police forces, UN agencies, INGOs, CSOs, the media and individual experts.
Date and Host Country
The Conference was held on 7 May 2018 in Durban, South Africa, to coincide with the Africa Travel Indaba.
ECPAT International acknowledges the funding support for the Africa Conference on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism from the Human Dignity Foundation (HDF).
Click here to read the Report of the Africa Conference.