As part of AccorHotels’ WATCH programme, AccorHotels Vietnam reinforces its commitment against the sexual exploitation of children by joining the efforts of The Code. Vietnam is the newest country in the AccorHotels network to sign The Code, an industry-driven initiative supported by ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), UNICEF and The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The sexual abuse of children associated with the travel and tourism industry is a global phenomenon and results in thousands of children being exploited by travellers in many tourist destinations. Abuse includes all forms of sexual exploitation including prostitution, pornography and trafficking. Every year, as many as 1.8 million children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation worldwide.
Over the past 15 years, AccorHotels has been fighting against sexual exploitation of children by informing and training employees, raising awareness among guests and suppliers, introducing reporting procedures and strengthening relations with authorities to combat these practices through WATCH (We Act Together for Children), the AccorHotels’ children protection programme.
“Since 2001, AccorHotels has led the fight against sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism alongside ECPAT International and local NGOs. It is the right thing to do and the signing of The Code of Conduct underscores our commitment to this cause,” said Lynn Lee, Sustainable Development & Communications Director for AccorHotels Asia Pacific. “Protection of children is one of the priorities of Planet 21, AccorHotels’ CSR programme, and we are proud to share that almost 90% of our hotel network globally have pledged to protect children.”
The signing ceremony which took place at ITB Asia aims to raise awareness and support against the sexual exploitation of children.
“AccorHotels provides a leading example of how companies in the travel and tourism industry can take practical steps to help protect children” said Damien Brosnan, Programme Manager for The Code.
The Code of Conduct identifies six essential steps that AccorHotels undertakes to implement for the protection of children:
- Establishing ethical policies and procedures against sexual exploitation of children.
- Training employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation, and how to report suspected cases.
- Including a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children.
- Providing information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases.
- Supporting, collaborating and engaging stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children.
- Reporting annually on their implementation of Code-related activities.
As of today, with the support of ECPAT or local NGOs, more than 60,000 AccorHotels employees globally have been trained on how to detect and respond to situations of child abuse and trafficking.
The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (The Code) is an industry-driven corporate responsible tourism initiative that provides awareness, tools and support to tourism companies in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. Tourism companies that join The Code agree to take six steps that turn child protection principles into concrete operational procedures that can help keep children safe (www.thecode.org).
AccorHotels has a portfolio of 4,000 hotels, resorts and residences in 95 countries. Its portfolio comprises luxury brands including Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel Legend, SO Sofitel, Sofitel, onefinestay, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman, and Swissôtel; popular midscale and boutique brands such as Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter and Adagio; and economy brands including ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget and the regional brands Grand Mercure, The Sebel and hotelF1.