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Preventing the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (GARA)

Posted on May 24, 2022

The Regional Action Group of the Americas for the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (GARA) launched an Action Protocol Model for Tour Guides.   

The tourism sector plays a fundamental role in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and Tour Guides can be key allies. However, Tour Guides and those involved in the day-to-day operations need to be equipped with the necessary tools and understanding of how they can play their part.

The Regional Action Group of the Americas for the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (GARA) created a tool to strengthen the capacities of Tour Guides to protect children. The Action Protocol Model for Tour Guides was launched on 12 May 2022. It provides Tour Guides with actionable guidelines for preventing, identifying, and reporting suspected situations of sexual exploitation, and/or child labour in the different spaces where they carry out their activities— including in the remote areas and local communities. 

The Action Protocol Model is accompanied by a Decalogue for Tour Guides to prevent situations of sexual exploitation of children in the context of travel and tourism. The Decalogue, specifically calls upon Tour Guides to discourage travellers and tourists from engaging in volunteer activities (voluntourism) with unregulated and unsupervised access to children and/or visits to institutions that offer residential care, which could put children at risk of sexual exploitation. 

The documents were prepared by the GARA Commission for the Preparation of Specific Documents/Protocols for the sector, with contributions from other member countries and from private Tour Guides and Tour Guide Associations from Argentina, Chile and Mexico. ECPAT International, which has an observer status with GARA, together with the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN-OEA) contributed to the process and all final products were approved by all GARA members. 

The National Tourism Authorities, the Tourism Guide Associations, the companies, or the individual tour guides from the Americas and other regions, can adopt the Model, making the relevant adjustments based on the national and/or local regulatory and institutional frameworks.  

Download the document in English.

Download the document in Portuguese.

Download the document in Spanish.

 

Read more about How voluntourism may facilitate the sexual exploitation of children available also in Spanish and Portuguese. As a company, follow The Code Voluntourism Policy. 

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