Since its inception in 2004, Cape Town Tourism has proudly, and vocally, forged ahead with its commitment to responsible tourism development in Cape Town and, as a leader in the field, today hosted a workshop for member hospitality establishments on the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct.
This initiative, which started as a project of ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes International) has since been endorsed by UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) and signed by more than thirty-five countries across the globe.
The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct aims to protect the safety of children and prevent the effects of child sex tourism – including human trafficking, child pornography, and child prostitution. In South Africa, the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct was launched in Johannesburg on May 9, 2010 by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) who has been tasked with being the driving force behind the initiative, in partnership with funding and advisory partners, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In Cape Town, awareness and implementation of the Code is being encouraged by Cape Town Tourism together with FTTSA. A formal launch date for Cape Town will be set ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ as soccer fans prepare to bring their euros, dollars, and pounds into the country providing short-term temptation to the vulnerable and less fortunate.
Tourism businesses of all kinds are encouraged to join the cause and fight against the exploitation of minors in South Africa and Cape Town. Those businesses that choose to embrace the responsible tourism culture and implement the Code will have to commit to certain measures, namely:
• to establish an ethical corporate policy regarding the sexual exploitation of children;
• to train establishment personnel in prevention measures and Code contact personnel;
• to introduce clauses in supplier contracts stating a common alliance against the exploitation of minors;
• to provide information and help center details to key people at the tourist destination, as well as to travelers; and
• to report back annually on incidents and progress.
CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Mariette du-Toit Helmbold, takes the subject of sex tourism and human trafficking very seriously and has stated, “We cannot turn a blind eye and just focus on the pretty postcard pictures of a destination. There is a dark underbelly in tourism, whether we like it or not. And that underbelly needs to be exposed and proactively dealt with.
“When people travel with the intention of exploiting women and children, it becomes a matter of interest not just for tourism but also for society and the law. Exploitation of this sort is a global problem, but it often goes hand in hand with developing societies such as ours and should be a concern for anyone involved in the tourism industry. Our message is simple: if you are going to make yourself guilty of irresponsible behavior, you are not welcome! We now have the South African government and Fair Trade in Tourism, as well as members behind this message, not just for June and July 2010, but increasingly going forward.”