On the 2nd of October 2013, ECPAT Germany and The German Travel Association has organized a full day workshop on “The Code of Conduct to protect children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism” with the participation of many representatives from the public sector and the private sector.

Child protection has always listed in the top of the government’s priorities. Indeed, Vietnam was the 2nd in the world and the 1st in Asia to sign in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) back in 1990. However, when it comes to the sensitive issue like Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), it’s a different story to tell. The real statistics on CSEC has not been widely publicized on the news everyday. Not so many people has ever really thought about it well enough. And as a result, more and more children are continuously exploited for sexual purpose.

The situation of CSEC in Vietnam is much worse than you could imagine. During an 18 month period in 2005-2006, 7 foreign citizens were arrested fro sexcrimes against Vietnamese girls and boys. But since the end of 2005, when international media surrounded the high profile arrests and subsequent convictions of a British musician in Vung Tau, there has been no further arrests of foreign citizens for child sex crimes in Vietnam. The lack of arrest is not an indication that foreigners have ceased their illegal child sex activities. Rather, 28 child respondents (76%) reported that their customers included foreignors, coming from all around the world such as Germany, Austria, United States, United Kingdom, Australia.

The ugliest truth under CSEC is the horrible daily reality of child victims. A report from UNICEF Vietnam in 2010 showed that children experiece all forms of CSEC:

  • High volume of customers (68% receive more than 5 customers per day;
  • Little or no direct financial return;
  • High levels of violence (80% has been physically or emotionally abused);
  • Pregnancy (49% of girls had one more more pregnancies);
  • Abortion (52% of girls who had become pregnant had one or more abortions);
  • Serious health problems including HIV and STIs;
  • Pressure to not use condoms (36% siad they have been forced to not use condoms);
  • 13% of children who responded were currently using drugs;

And please remember, respondents are kids under the age of 18.

Madam Ha, Child protection expert of UNICEF Vietnam, reporting real statistics of CSEC

Mr.Manfred, a retired police officer in German, giving a presentation on German Legal Frameworks and Policies on CSEC

In order to build an alliance of different stakeholders with the mission to provide awereness, tools and support to the tourism industry, The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel adn Tourism has been made which employs the six following criterias:

  1. To establish a pocily and procedures agaisnt sexual exploitation of children;
  2. To train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases;
  3. To include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children;
  4. To privide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases;
  5. To support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children;
  6. To report annually on their implementation of Code related activities;

Mr.Andreas, Sustainability manager of the German travel association, introducing the Code

On the last session of the workshop, all participants has divided into 5 groups to discuss on how to raise awareness for different stakeholders in travel and tourism.

Group orange working on raising awareness of the frontline staff to protect children from sexual exploitation

Pinning the ideas to present to the workshop

Responsible huming beings -> creative ideas

Presenting eahc group’s ideas

All participants of the workshop

The workshop has wrapped up with strong commitment of each participant eitehr in private sector or public sector. Everyone in the tourism industry could be responsible in children protection too. Please be aware of the risk and look out for problem. Dial the hotline: 18001567 or 06944037. Speak up and make a report if you see anything suspicious.

Lan Chi