Unprecedented tourism growth in the Czech Republic but no adequate action from government to address the risks for children

ECPAT International’s latest country overview has found that despite increasing tourism there is no adequate action from the government to address the risk for children in the Czech Republic.

Tourism is growing at unprecedented rates with an increase of 1.5 million tourist arrivals from 2016 to a total of 20 million arrivals in 2017. Tourism has been vital for the Czech Republic in rebounding from economic recessions from 2009 to 2013. The Czech Republic’s historical, art and architecture as well as nightlife and entertainment hot-spots prove popular with tourists however those engaging with the sex industry may also be unknowingly putting children at risk.

The number of tourist arrivals as well as those travelling for the sex industry has been greatly influenced by the opening up of borders between other EU members since 2004. The sex industry in Germany and Austria is regulated whereas across the border in more impoverished Czech communities, sexual services are much cheaper and clients are able to remain further under the radar.

Attracting tourists, particularly gay men are “boy bars” that are often owned by Czech pornography companies. The report finds there is a growing market for young males posing a risk for child sexual exploitation also exacerbated by an increase of trafficking of boys into the country often to be exploited for sexual services in exchange for money.

With little official government data and no specific legislative responses or public awareness raising initiatives from the government, the risk for child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism is significant.

The need for awareness raising is being filled from key travel and tourism companies with operations in the Czech Republic including Accor Hotels, Adventure Travel Trade Association, Altruvistas, ANWB Reizen Beheer BV, BCD Travel, Carlson, Hilton and Studiosus Reisen München who have all become members of The Code. Through this commitment member companies adhere to the six criteria of The Code to train staff, implement child protection policies and procedures, create awareness among travellers and include a clause in contracts in their supply chain.

 

Read the report here.