Adventure Travel Trade Association Joins ECPAT’s Fight Against Sexual Exploitation Of Children

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President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Shannon Stowell signing the Code

ECPAT-USA and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) today announced that the ATTA became the first United States-based association to sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, an internationally accepted industry-driven corporate responsibility initiative to protect children from trafficking and sexual exploitation in travel and tourism

The ATTA has a long history of social responsibility and sustainable development and when delving deeper into child exploitation issues in tourism, the ATTA viewed it as imperative to get involved in taking steps to protect children worldwide. In the past, the ATTA has written about ECPAT-USA’s mission to protect children globally from sexual exploitation and trafficking, therefore, signing the Code was a natural next step. As part of being a signatory to the Code, the ATTA has created a plan to help disseminate materials, provide education and also give exposure for

“ECPAT-USA is thrilled to bring the Adventure Travel Trade Association into the family of organizations and companies that have signed the Code of Conduct. Children are sexually exploited by the millions all over the world,” said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “It is important that every sector of the travel industry become part of the solution by implementing the six steps of the Code. The ATTA will have a tremendous multiplier effect by informing its membership about how they can help fight the scourge of child exploitation.”

“We recognize there are dark sides to tourism,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “With such recognition comes great responsibility to take meaningful and immediate steps to eradicate harmful activity. This is our first measure to address this issue, and most certainly not our last.”

The ATTA, along with many Advisory Board members and other industry leaders such as UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai serving as witnesses, signed the Code before more than 600 tourism industry professionals representing 60 nations on October 9th during the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit in Switzerland to send a signal to the global adventure tourism community that there is no place for the exploitation of children in tourism, as well as to foster a movement for additional support to fight this battle together. The ATTA joins Code signatories such as Accor Hotels, Carlson Companies, Delta Air Lines, Hilton Worldwide, Sabre Holdings and Wyndham Worldwide.

UNWTO Secretary-General and the ATTA President discuss principles and ethics in tourism

6 Comments to Adventure Travel Trade Association Joins ECPAT’s Fight Against Sexual Exploitation Of Children

  1. My congratulations on the Child Protection initiative. Morocco Explored Tours and Treks has upheld this mandate and been educating our explorers about it for several years now, and we are so pleased to see this placed in the forefront as an issue that seriously needs to be addressed by tours providers and hoteliers around the globe. It’s a great start.

    In Morocco it’s common to see tour buses pull up while children are waiting to pounce. I’m sure this is common in many places around the globe. The passengers are left digging in their pockets for coins or candy while the tour guide stands by. I find this really disturbing. I’m sure none of those passengers would want their own children to be in this situation.

    I do suggest that there be an article posted to all the ATTA membership about how to prevent children from becoming victims: this is what we have in our Frequently Asked Questions / Giving gifts and Presents – on our website:

    “The social support system of Morocco is to give alms to the poor, especially during Ramadan. That said, you may want to assess how needy someone really is before giving a few dirhams to anyone begging on the street. There are a number of scams based upon organised begging. Please, never give anything to children, no matter how needy they may appear to be. Pedophilia is on the rise in Morocco, especially in Marrakech and giving encourages children to freely approach foreigners. Mothers frequently encourage their children to ask a foreigner for a dirham. Please help us stop this. We particularly recommend clients consider giving a more helpful gift to important development projects such as Education for All Morocco.”

  2. It was an honor to be there when it was signed. One of the ways we believe leaders make a difference is when they use their influence and power to influence systemic change. Very proud of the ATTA for this!

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