Every year, the U.S. State Department compiles a global Trafficking in Persons report. The 2020 report emphasises trends ECPAT International has monitored since the launch of the Global Study on the Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism:
In our work to end the sexual exploitation of children in the context of travel and tourism, we’ve been advancing a comprehensive framework where businesses, organisations and governments are actively working together to protect children and end the impunity of offenders. The very centre of our work is children’s rights, always guiding our efforts to do more and better.
As part of these efforts, we also work in partnership with the travel and tourism industry by supporting them to take action to ensure children are safe. Today, the ECPAT hosted initiative The Code, has more than 370 member companies from the industry committed to this mission, for example by training staff members on how to spot signs of a child in danger. Up to this day, more than one million people have been trained. ECPAT also have global partners across the world, working on policy and legislation changes to protect children further.
In 2016, ECPAT released a Global Study on sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism together with 60 partners. The study galvanised joint action and brought the issue to the attention of key decision-makers worldwide. The study was followed up by a call for action from the International Summit on Child Protection in Travel and Tourism in 2018. Now, we’re happy to see that this year’s Trafficking in Persons report is calling upon governments to step up and take action to bring an end to extraterritorial child sexual exploitation and abuse, by addressing the trends identified, some of which are:
Protecting children from sexual exploitation in the context of travel and tourism requires commitment from everyone working in the sector, and from those who visit and enjoy tourist destinations. Offenders travel internationally, but also within their region and country, and can be found amongst business travellers, teachers, volunteers, aid workers and expatriates. The crime needs to be addressed now; it is particularly urgent as the COVID-19 pandemic has lead to increasing levels of poverty and inequality, which are making children more and more vulnerable.
The Trafficking in Persons Report focusing on this issue will help maintain the momentum and scale up impact. To achieve the ambitious objective of ending trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, duty-bearers across governments and industries must cooperate.
Last but not least, the anti-trafficking community is moving away from using the term
‘child sex tourism’, but still, it’s used throughout the report. #WordsMatter and change start now. This is a severe crime; it is not another form of tourism.
Trafficking in Persons Report 2020 (TIP report)
Full list of Global Study recommendations
Legal checklist for governments to protect children
Declaration and call for action from the International summit in Bogota