With acts of child prostitution occurring in hotels, Kuoni sees itself as duty-bound to take action against this problem. During the last six years Kuoni has taken a leading role by engaging with local non-governmental organisations and business partners in building awareness regarding the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation due to tourism. Actions include:
Kuoni has been an active member of the Child Protection Code since 2006 and is represented on its board. As part of this commitment, Kuoni informs its customers about the issue, contractually obliges its partners to adopt the same ethical approach and shows its partner hotels and their employees what they should do if they come across any cases of sexual exploitation of children in the course of their work.
In 2012 Kuoni, Accor, TUI Travel and ITB together with GIZ and the Code launch a joint public-private partnership to ensure and inspire action on the issue, through testing and optimization of the tools put in place in Thailand, as pilot country. To ensure that companies signing the Code implement the criteria they commit to as well as report on their work, a line of cloud-based, online services is being developed. The services will include an E-learning system and a new online reporting system.
"It is crucial that the industry gets involved in testing, strengthening and adapting the new tools, which is why we are supporting this new private project," says Matthias Leisinger, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Kuoni.
Watch Matthias Leisinger explain the Code's aims in an interview by CNN's Richard Quest here.
Supplier Code of Conduct
Child protection is part of our Supplier Code of Conduct, which has been introduced to our contractual agreements with our hotel partners and other suppliers and service providers.
Workshops for suppliers
Kuoni has been conducting a series of workshops with partner hotels on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children since 2006. The programme is intended to help these partners abide by the terms of their contractual agreements with Kuoni and motivate them to play their own active part in preventing such criminal activity. Workshops have already been held with numerous hotels in Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Bulgaria, India and Kenya, and the programme is being steadily extended to further destinations.
Our customers are being sensitised to the problem of child sex tourism through an informational flyer and by online means. Our message here is always the same: never turn a blind eye! Child abuse can never be tolerated, and can never be excused or explained away as local custom or culture. It is a crime all over the world and must be punished as such. The Kuoni informational flyer is intended to raise the knowledge and awareness of the problem among customers and local service providers, and to show them how they should respond if they suspect such activities.
Human Trafficking Film
View the BBC's film "End Human Trafficking Now"
Supporting ‘Children’s Rights in Goa’
Kuoni financially supports its partner organisation Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG), an advocacy organisation dedicated to improving the awareness of children regarding their rights and protecting them from all forms of exploitation. The organisation was the first in Goa to draw attention to cases of the sexual exploitation of children within the tourist sector, and has successfully lobbied for the adoption of the Goa Children’s Act, legislation to protect children in India. CRG also takes abused or endangered children into shelters, where it teaches them how they can protect themselves.
Kuoni has also supported CRG in establishing a Child Resource Centre which has become a refuge for children working in local markets, offering them literacy courses, counselling and livelihood training in bicycle repair, jewellery making and tailoring.
Supporting the ‘Child Welfare Society’
In Mombasa, a destination at which child sex tourism is an acknowledged problem, Kuoni is involved in a project that is specifically intended to raise public awareness of the issue and change people’s attitudes and behaviour. The ‘Children at Risk’ project of the Child Welfare Society in Kenya is intended to expand the knowledge and the range of options available to people in the local villages, to ensure that children in the region are better protected against sexual exploitation.
The Child Welfare Society of Kenya is building a counselling centre for children and adolescents with Kuoni’s financial support. The centre is designed to allow the kind of exchange between the children involved and volunteer helpers and social workers that can act as a first step in rescuing these youngsters from their situation. By serving as a meeting place, the centre also helps strengthen the children’s confidence and self-awareness. And the external support and advice it provides can help them appreciate their potential, plan their working future and take advantage of local employment opportunities.