Since the World Cup in 2010, Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) has been the Local Code Representative (LCR) in South Africa of The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (referred to as The Code). Additionally, FTT is proud to be an elected Board Member of this global initiative – a multi-stakeholder organisation that has been created as a practical tool for the tourism industry in taking action against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, with its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand. According to the latest Country Report of ECPAT International we face a challenge in South Africa of up to 30,000 underage children who are commercially sexually exploited (actual figure is probably even higher). This growing illegal industry mainly evokes out of underlying causes such as poverty, hunger, increasing numbers of orphans and child headed households, etc.
To bring these sad facts into the open, The Code developed a new strategy, designed to address this issue in an appropriate way. Tourism businesses are invited to act pro-actively according to their Corporate Social Responsibility principles in combating commercial sexual exploitation of underage persons and sign up as supportive members to The Code of Conduct. To prove that this organisation is on the right path they have just recently won the Skål Award for Sustainable Development in Tourism, established by the eponymous international association of tourism professionals. Therefore, being an active Member of The Code is evidence of a tourism companies’ commitment towards sustainable and ethical tourism, by taking tangible actions to help protect children from sexual exploitation. The actions can easily be implemented with the six criteria that have been established to support companies in their day-to-day operations. To find more about the criteria and how to implement those please go to www.thecode.org.
Further, South Africa is becoming a highly respected destination for responsible tourism, with a number of tourism companies already operating in the field of responsible travel. As such, FTT calls out to every tourism business to sign the Code of Conduct and stand pro-actively against child abuse. To become a Member, apply online on the website at thecode.org or contact FTT for further information: [email protected]. As a Member of The Code, you become part of a committed global network of responsible tourism businesses, from the largest hotel chains to responsible small-scale tour operators and travel agencies.
“We see the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children as a wonderful opportunity to call upon all citizens and travellers in South African to cherish our children,” says Kathy Bergs, General Manager of Fair Trade Tourism.