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UNWTO and WV to fight child exploitation in tourism

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ETW StaffMumbai

The UNWTO and World Vision East Asia Regional Office have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), forging a partnership aimed at fighting the exploitation of children in the tourism sector. World Vision (WV) is a relief, development and advocacy organisation working to protect children from exploitation, trafficking and abuse.

Areas of future cooperation between UNWTO and WV include the promotion of tools, good practices and case studies to support child protection in tourism, comprising the WV-coordinated child safe tourism campaign, endorsed by the governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, which informs travellers on the actions they can take to protect children and young people from abuse in tourism destinations. The campaign is part of Project Childhood, an initiative funded by the Australian Government to combat the sexual exploitation of children in tourism in the Mekong sub-region.

UNWTO has been working in the same sphere through the World Tourism Network on Child Protection for more than 15 years now.

Taleb Rifai, secretary-general, UNWTO, said, “The growth of tourism sector brings important development opportunities, but also immense challenges, affecting namely the most vulnerable groups of society. Children and youth are particularly at risk, and it is imperative that the tourism sector stakeholders work together to tackle the pressing issue of child exploitation. World Vision has always been appreciated as a very committed and active partner of the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection and we are very happy to be able to join our efforts in fighting such a hideous practice as child exploitation.”

Warren Climenhaga, director for Integrated Ministry, World Vision East Asia, added, “In South East Asia, World Vision has a number of programmes dedicated to reducing harm to children from abuse, exploitation and trafficking, including in the tourism sector. Tourism is growing rapidly in this region bringing many opportunities as well as some risks to children. For this reason we are pleased to be joining forces with UNWTO in our joint sustainable approach to child safe tourism.”