June 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the globally recognized framework for State duties and business responsibilities in preventing and addressing business-related human rights abuse. Although many businesses refer to the UNGP and other human rights guidelines, children’s rights still need to be equally perceived as an intrinsic part of human rights frameworks. In the travel and tourism sector, awareness about trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children has increased over the last decade among ‘frontrunner’ businesses, many of which are members of The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (The Code). Much more needs to be done to improve national legal and policy frameworks, and step up the accountability of business to prevent sexual exploitation of children.
Trafficking and sexual exploitation of children has not stopped with the closure of borders and travel restrictions – offenders who transitioned to online exploitation of children are likely to travel to commit hands-on abuse when the restrictions ease. As countries confront the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis and its growing economic and social impacts on children, their families, and entire communities, key partners representing CSOs, governments, and business will discuss progress made versus existing gaps, and call for prioritising child protection as part of the Next Decade of Business and Human Rights.
Opening: Child protection as part of sustainable and responsible travel and tourism – Dorothea Czarnecki, Deputy Executive, Director for Programmes, ECPAT International
Opening remarks – Jan Scheer, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand
Children’s rights in BMZ, GIZ, German development cooperation – Anne Carina Jacob, Advisor Children’s Rights, Cross Sectoral Programme Human Rights, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Panel 1: Perspectives from the ground. Impact of COVID-19 on children and communities – current and emerging risks of sexual exploitation of children in online
Moderator: Rangsima Deesawade, Regional Coordinator for Southeast Asia, ECPAT International
● Vo Anh Dung, Head of Child rights monitoring, counselling and protecting, Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights (VACR), ECPAT Vietnam
● Janice Sofia R. Talip, Project Coordinator in Bohol Province (Visayas Region), ECPAT Philippines
● Tessema Bekele, Executive Director, Emmanuel Development Association (EDA) Addis Ababa, ECPAT Ethiopia and offline environment.
Panel 2: Leaders in sustainable and responsible travel and tourism with child protection in focus – business perspective on the current crisis and the recovery.
Moderator: Damien Brosnan, Manager of The Code
● Ruth Hopfer-Kubsch, Studiosus
● Christian Byczek, Manager Corporate Responsibility, DER Touristik Group
Panel 3: Looking ahead – prioritising child protection as part of sustainable and responsible travel and tourism recovery.
Moderator: Gabriela Kühn, Head of Programme, ECPAT International
● Michelle Dyer, representing Human Trafficking Task Force of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); VP Global Strategic Transformation, American Express Global Business Travel
● Lucia Soletti, Chief of Child protection, Cambodia, UNICEF
● Dorothea Czarnecki, Deputy Executive Director for Programmes, ECPAT International
Q&A session Participants: CSOs, private sector companies, representatives of governments and academia
Closing: the way forward with a strengthened network for cooperation.
The event is organized as part of the project “Developing travel and tourism with child protection in focus for a
sustainable post COVID-19 pandemic recovery” funded by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale
Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The recording from the event is available: