PEaCE /ECPAT Sri Lanka organized a national multi-stakeholders consultation on “Advancing Responsible Business Practices for Child Protection from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism” on December 12 in Colombo. The Consultation was conducted in association with institutions/organizations such as Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Police, ECPAT International, International Labour Organisation (ILO), South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC), SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC).
Nearly 60 participants attended representing a wide range of sectors such as government ministries, regulatory authorities, hoteliers and industry stakeholders in the private sector and non-government organizations. ECPAT International Secretariat was represented by Junita Upadhyay, Deputy Executive Director, Programmes, Sumnima Tuladhar, Regional Board Representative for South Asia and Rajib Halder, Regional Coordinator for South Asia.
The Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (SECTT), conducted in coordination with 67 partners from around the world, documents that the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism has expanded worldwide, more children are being victimized than ever before, and the problem is truly global, with no region untouched and no country immune. A regional report of the Global Study focusing on South Asia including Sri Lanka was also published and disseminated. In such a context, the overall objective of this national consultation was to establish specific commitments to address the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) following the recommendations of the Global Study and contributing to the achievement of the targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Several presentations on the past and present developments of the travel and tourism industry in Sri Lanka, issues associated with sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), related legal framework and the responsible business practices applicable to the private sector stakeholders was delivered by resource persons and technical experts. The Consultation concluded with a strong commitment from the key stakeholders to take the recommendations forward in the context of Sri Lanka with a collective aim to protect children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism sector.
The National Consultation was supported by TDH/NL regional programme being implemented with ECPAT International Secretariat in South Asia.