On Friday 25 November 2016, the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Report on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (SECTT) was launched in Harare by the Zimbabwean Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Dr Walter Mzembi. More than 90 people from various government departments, the Parliament, the Judiciary, local CSOs, international NGOs, and the media attended the event which was organised in collaboration with the Zimbabwe National Child Welfare Council (ZNCWC). ZNCWC recently became a Member of the ECPAT Network.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister, who currently also chairs the African Union Council of Tourism Ministers, commended ECPAT for taking a lead in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. He on a number of occasions made reference to ECPAT’s animation movie on SECTT (which was shown during the launch), lamenting the extent and risks present in the travel and tourism industry as demonstrated in the movie. He registered his concern that there is exponential growth in the number of travelers globally since 1950, which in return creates vulnerability of children. He explained some of the measures being undertaken by his Ministry to ensure protection of children from all forms of abuse and exploitation, including establishing a Youth Group.
ECPAT International was represented by Head of SECTT Programme Henrik Holmquist and SECTT Programme Specialist Violet Odala. Speaking on behalf of ECPAT, Henrik said that UNWTO data indicates that tourism in Africa has tripled in the last two decades and the sub-Saharan Africa regional report illustrates that while tourism can provide great economic opportunities for African economies, it also presents foreseeable risks to children if adequate protection measures are not in place. As recommended by the Sub-Saharan Africa Report, awareness raising, prevention, protection, ending impunity and recovery are key measures for addressing the problem of SECTT.
After the launch, ECPAT staff visited ZNCWC offices to discuss how to continue with the advocacy in the fight against SECTT. The Executive Director for ZNCWC Taylor Nyanhete expressed his delight that ZNCWC is a member of the ECPAT Network.
See the Regional Report here.