AccorHotels North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NCAC) have announced that it is reinforcing its commitment against the sexual exploitation of children by joining the efforts of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) in the U.S. by signing the Tourism Code of Conduct (The Code). The U.S. is the 38th country in the AccorHotels network to sign The Code, an industry-driven initiative reinforced by UNICEF and The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
“Since 2001, AccorHotels has led the fight against sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism alongside ECPAT International and we are proud to reaffirm our commitment to this cause by signing the Tourism Code of Conduct in the U.S.,” said Christophe Alaux, CEO HotelServices for AccorHotels North America, Central America and Caribbean. “Protection of children is one of our main commitments within our Planet 21 program, our group’s CSR platform, and we are proud to announce that more than half of our hotel network has signed The Code to date.”
The event at Sofitel Washington D.C. was attended by senior government officials who support ECPAT’s efforts, including Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Amy O’Neill Richard, Senior Advisor to the Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), State Department, as well as other local leaders.
ECPAT is a non-governmental organization and global network of civil society organizations dedicated to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The Tourism Code of Conduct was developed in 1996 in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the tourism sector, implemented for the first time in 1998, and has been managed by the tourism industry since 2004. It assists with prevention, rehabilitation and reinsertion projects for vulnerable children and/or the victims of sexual exploitation in a number of countries.By enacting responsible policies, members of The Code play an essential role in protecting children from the sexual exploitation that is particularly prevalent in this industry.
“Many groups in the ECPAT network have had the pleasure of partnering with AccorHotels to protect children from exploitation and we are pleased to see them expand their work into the United States,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement for ECPAT-USA. “This expansion reaffirms AccorHotels’ commitment to The Code and will help grow the number of tourism professionals working towards a world where no child is bought, sold, or used for sexual exploitation.”
The Tourism Code of Conduct identifies six criteria 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 travelers 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
Since 2001, AccorHotels has been fighting against sexual exploitation of children by informing and training employees, raising awareness among customers and suppliers, developing relations with public authorities, and facilitating the integration of minors. As of today, 38 countries where the Group is implemented have signed the Code of Conduct with over 70,000 employees trained in partnership with ECPAT on how to detect and respond to situations of child abuse.