SA hotels target sex tourism

2013-05-16 09:48

Durban - South African hotels have committed to help protect children from sex tourism by being on the lookout for suspicious guests who try to check in with underage companions.

IOL reports that the move has been made to help stop South Africa from becoming a child-sex tourism destination.

According to Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa there are certain factors that create an environment for the exploitation of children. Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa is a non-profit organisation and the local representative of the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct, which is based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Some of these realities are explained as follows: "The inflow of tourists, the ease with which people can cross borders, societal beliefs that tolerate violence against women, high levels of poverty, and growing inequality since 1994 suggest that tens of thousands of children are at risk of sexual and other forms of exploitation."

An advertisement about the code was placed in the Indaba Daily News that was distributed to delegates at the tourism industry trade show. It encouraged tourism professionals to make use of their unique position to help combat sexual exploitation of children.

"Your company can make a difference by signing the code and implementing it as part of your responsible tourism or corporate social responsibility initiative," it said. 

Across the world 1 265 companies have signed up.

The City Lodge group is among 40 local signatories.

According to Khaya Thwala, the stakeholder communications assistant, more would sign up if Fair Trade in Tourism could get more funding to raise awareness.

He explained that staff at hotels that signed up would be trained to look out for suspicious situations, particularly if a  child looked uncomfortable and that they hope to extend the initiative into the rest of Africa.

According to Childline, one in three children calling were doing so in relation to sexual abuse.

Last year the Children's Rights Centre in Durban said that there were a lot of children being brought in to be sex workers from other countries, such as Mozambique.

Read more on:    good news  |  hotels  |  travel south africa

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