The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has launched a 40 country bench-marking index Out of the shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation. With support from World Childhood Foundation and Oak Foundation and the Carlson Family Foundation, the index seeks to examine and rank country responses to child sexual exploitation and abuse with 20 additional countries to be added in 2019.
Specifically, the index looks at four key categories of criteria; context and environment in which child sexual exploitation occurs, the effectiveness of legal frameworks and responses and how they provide protections for children, whether government commitment and capacity actively strengthen institutional and individual responses and how the private sector, civil society and the media is engaged to end this crime. Countries are then assessed against these criteria under 34 indicators and 132 sub-indicators.
For the travel and tourism industry this includes 4 sub-indicators:
3.2.2 – Does the country have a national plan to protect children against trafficking, including sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism?
Countries are given a score out of three, zero, being no national plan, two indicating a national plan exists but with no specific reference to sexual exploitation in travel and tourism, and three indicating that countries have included a national plan with specific reference to sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism.
The initiative also assesses countries responses to child sexual exploitation within the context of travel and tourism through industry including commitment to The Code (short of The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children in Travel and Tourism):
4.2.1 – Does the country have any members that have signed The Code?
4.2.2 – Does the country have any members of The Code that have operations within that country?
4.2.3 – Does the country make the sexual exploitation of children a clear priority its the scope of its work?
Countries are scored either a yes or no for the above sub-indicators.
The Code has continued to welcome new member companies and Local Code Representatives, and now reaching more than 300 members operating in 150 countries around the world ranging from multinationals to small local operations. Major tourism companies have joined The Code, indicating increasing private sector actions to end sexual exploitation of children.
The EIU Index refers also to the Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (the most comprehensive picture to date of this crime that includes input from 67 partners around the world) to inform its findings and define its indicators. In line with the Global Study that found that no country is immune from the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, the “Out of the shadows” index highlights that sexual violence of children is happening across the globe regardless of a country’s economic success.
As a first of its kind research project, the index promises to bring the sexual exploitation and abuse of children out of the shadows and shine a light on how countries are responding, what is working and what more needs to be done. Governments, the private sector, civil society and the media all have a role to play in ending the sexual exploitation of children, especially in travel and tourism.
Recently, at the 2018 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, the travel and tourism sector demonstrated that it is standing up, is recognizing the problem and is bringing the discussion about children’s rights and due diligence to the table.
>> Listen to the Out of the shadows launch webinar here.
>> Take a look at the data here.