ECPAT International had the opportunity to present on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct in Asia and the Americas at the International Encounter on Good Practices to prevent Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism. The conference was held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on 28-29 May 2013.
The Conference was organised by UNICEF, the Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR) and the Association of Hotels and Tourism (ASONAHORES) in the Dominican Republic. Approximately 200 participants from all facets of the tourism sector, non-governmental organisations and governmental departments, including the POLITUR (Tourist Police), attended the two day event. Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Honourable Francisco Javier García Fernández, Minister of Tourism were also in attendance.
During the event, an inter-institutional agreement was signed by UNICEF, MINTUR and ASONAHORES to encourage the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic to sign and implement the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children of Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (thecode.org). Experiences and best practices from the tourism sector were shared and local ECPAT affiliate group, MAIS, presented on community mobilisation strategies utilised to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism.
The private sector involvement, specifically the tourism industry, is central to the fight against child sex tourism. Presenters and participants all showed a common commitment to protecting children in the Dominican Republic from commercial sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.