Carlson Rezidor’s Hotels and Carlson Family Foundation was one of the main partners of the Global Study on sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. This study is an initiative by ECPAT International to provide an updated picture of the issue and recommendations to end this heinous crime.
Despite 20 years of efforts, the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) has expanded across the globe and out-paced every attempt to respond at the international and national level. The results of the first comprehensive global study on SECTT confirm that no region is untouched by this crime and no country is ‘immune’. In an increasingly interconnected world, more people are on the move and even the most remote parts of the planet are now within reach, thanks to cheaper travel and the spread of the Internet. As a result, the risks of child sexual exploitation are increasing.
The Global Study on SECTT aims to bring this gross violation of children’s right into the light, the Global Study is the first (and, to date the only) research initiative on SECTT to explore emerging trends and possible solutions.
Key global findings
Twenty years ago, it might have been possible to sketch a rough global map showing where international travelling sex offenders were from, and where they were going. Today, the distinctions between countries of origin and countries of destination are blurring. Global Study finds that they are victimized everywhere.
The Global Study highlights the need to re-frame this issue – looking beyond what was once referred to as ‘child sex tourism’. This means broadening the scope of policies, programs and research to include tourism and travel (whether international or domestic), and identifying and addressing what it is, exactly, about travel and tourism, that leaves children so vulnerable to exploitation.
Europe remains the number one tourist destination, welcoming more than half of the world’s tourists in 2013, and there are suggestions that children’s vulnerability to SECTT is on the rise.
Middle East and North Africa
The region faces specific challenges that heighten the risk of SECTT: conflict, wealth disparities that fuel migration, the low status of women and girls, harmful traditions such as child or ‘temporary’ marriages and a lack of opportunities for youth.
According to data from UNWTO, tourism in Africa has more than tripled in the last 20 years, and SECTT may be increasing, although empirical data are lacking. Increasingly diverse modes of travel and tourism attract visitors to once remote locations, and foreign direct investment is bringing in unaccompanied male workers.
Carlson Rezidor’s Hotels and Carlson Family Foundation
Protecting victims of human trafficking is important to Carlson Rezidor as a global hotel and travel management company. We are proud to be an industry leader in preventing human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children. In fact, for more than 15 years, we have taken a public stand in this area.
World Childhood Foundation
In 1999 the Carlson Family Foundation accepted an invitation from Her Royal Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden to become a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation. The World Childhood Foundation supports more than 100 projects in 17 countries that are focused on preventing abuse and exploitation of children, including trafficking. Over the years of this partnership, Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation have contributed an estimated $5 million to Childhood, and have also helped encourage additional contributions from other companies and funders during this time.
In 2004 Carlson Rezidor joined an organization called “End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes”, or ECPAT, and signed the ECPAT Code of Conduct. The Carlson Family Foundation continues to provide funding support to ECPAT. ECPAT is an expanding network of local civil society organisations. At the heart of all its work are the voices of children, reflected across our research agenda, programmes and campaigns.
Education of employees and other stakeholders
As part of our commitment, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has created training programs designed for all hotel managers and employees to identify and report trafficking. The curriculum is delivered through a train-the-trainer approach and requires that the training is mandatory and is offered in all of Carlson’s 1350+ hotels worldwide. Carlson has trained nearly a thousand hoteliers, who have in turned trained thousands more employees.
We’ve also worked with the International Tourism Partnership, and many others in the government and NGO community to put an end to human trafficking.
We incorporate anti-trafficking efforts into our business practices with Carlson and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group requiring an anti-trafficking clause in all contracts. Our suppliers and partners must state that they have not, nor ever will, knowingly engage in the sexual exploitation of children or forced child labor.
The prevention of human trafficking is one of two strategic focus areas for our corporate philanthropy. It’s also important to our businesses and to who we are as a company. Legislative action, combined with the private sector doing its part, gets us closer to our shared goal of ending the scourge of human trafficking.
What started off as a small project quickly became a fountain of information, with many partners and experts willing to contribute their particular knowledge of topics, regions and countries to the Global Study, resulting in a database of almost 2,500 pages. These research reports and expert papers were all written in the framework of the Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism and were the basis for this Global Study report and a youth-friendly report.