Ethics and Social Dimensions of Tourism
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Protection of Children in Tourism

UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection
(formerly the
Task Force for the Protection of Children)

spacer UNWTO’s work in the field of child protection has spanned over ten years, principally manifesting itself through the endeavours of the international World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism). This open-ended network features the multi-stakeholder participation of a range of actors, from governments, international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to tourism industry groups and media associations.

Established as the Task Force against the Sexual Exploitation of Children in 1997, its first decade focused on countering the phenomenon of “child sex tourism”. Since 2007, its mandate has been broadened to the prevention of all potential forms of youth exploitation within the tourism sector (i.e. sexual exploitation, child labour and trafficking). The Network's meetings, held annually at the worlds’ foremost Travel and Tourism Fairs, serve as a platform for tourism stakeholders to exchange experiences and best practices, present awareness-raising materials and capacity building tools, and promote the adoption of professional codes of conduct or other responsible practices in line with the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. In 2011, the body was renamed the "World Tourism Network on Child Protection".

Protect Children Awareness Campaign

spacer In November 2008, in collaboration with ILO, UNICEF and a series of tourism stakeholders from different sectors, UNWTO launched its latest international child protection campaign under the slogan "Don't let Child Abuse Travel". The campaign video spot and other materials have been disseminated among tourism stakeholders, providing them with specific recommendations for the protection of children and adolescents in the sector.

Currently in its planning phase is a new umbrella project for the protection of children in tourism with external partners. UNWTO's commitment to protect children from sexual exploitation in tourism complements the activities of other international organisations, including UNICEF, ICPO-Interpol, UNESCO, UNAIDS, WHO and other organs of the United Nations.

Child Protection Projects spacer
Alongside the work of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection, between 2000 and 2004, UNWTO joined forces with the European Commission to fund interrelated projects featuring interactive initiatives to combat “child sex tourism”. Jointly implemented by UNWTO and its NGO partners, its target groups included governments, international organizations, the tourism industry (travel agents, tour operators, hotels, airlines, and associations), academic institutions, young people, the media and tourists themselves. Most notably, the project yielded a set of Guidelines for National Tourism Administration (NTA) Focal Points (available to download), to assist NTA officials in actively engaging in the protection of children. Alongside this document, two training modules were developed to assist secondary schools and universities, respectively, to integrate the theme of children’s rights, sustainable tourism and sexual exploitation of children in tourism into curricula of future tourism professionals.

A part of this project worthy of special mention is the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, originally formulated by ECPAT, and which enjoys the support of UNWTO and UNICEF. Throughout the last decade, the Code has developed into one of the most recommended practices for the implementation of CSR related to child protection in the tourism industry. Overall, 2 million EUR were committed by the EU to support the aforementioned projects: one million was granted by the Tourism Unit of the EU Enterprise Directorate General and another million by the EuropeAid Cooperation Office.

See also:

  • World Tourism Network on Child Protection (formerly the Task Force for the Protection of Children in Tourism)
  • Guidelines for NTAs on Child Protection in Tourism
  • LEGISLATION on child protection in tourism        
  • EMERGENCY HOTLINES related to child protection
  • FOCAL POINTS on issues of child protection   

For more information on UNWTO's activities related to the protection of children please contact

  • Protection of Children
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