XI Annual Meeting of the Regional Action Group of the Americas (GARA – Grupo de Acción Regional de las Américas) for the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism
GARA held its annual meeting on 7-9 November 2018 in la Antigüa, Guatemala. The meeting was attended by the representatives of the Ministries from Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay. ECPAT International and the Inter-American Children´s Institute (IIN-OAS) acted as Observers.
A video message was delivered from Mr. Jaime Alberto Cabal, Deputy-Secretary General (UNWTO) to the participants of the meeting to address the participants “With the future UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics the adoption of which at the UNWTO General Assembly is expected in 2019, the World Tourism Organization will offer a solid and binding tool to governments and the entire sector to incorporate the struggle for the protection of children as one of the priorities at the legislative and regulatory level. From here I would like to appeal to governments and society in general to join our forces in the fight to eradicate any type of child exploitation”.
GARA approved a monitoring plan for its Plan of Action 2018-2020 and resolved, among others, to:
• Put forward the Campaign GARA for the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism in the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour on April 16th 2019 with a joint use of the hash-tag #TurismoLibreDeExplotacion (Tourism Free from Exploitation);
• Accept ECPAT International’s proposal to incorporate GARA into a web platform aimed at receiving and channeling complaints of suspicious cases of sexual exploitation of children in order to improve reporting systems;
• Establish an information centre that could be hosted on ECPAT International’s website that serves as a repository for resources and research on child protection in travel and tourism, as well as on Inter-American Children´s Institute website.