Re­port on child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion launched

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Cool News -

ASUB-Sa­ha­ran Africa Study Re­port on the Sex­ual Ex­ploita­tion of Chil­dren in Travel and Tourism (SECTT) was launched re­cently at the Hol­i­day Inn Ho­tel, Harare by the Hon­ourable Min­is­ter of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try of Zim­babwe, Dr Wal­ter Mzembi, who is also the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNWTO) Re­gional Com­mis­sion for Africa Chair­per­son, and the African Union Can­di­date for the po­si­tion of UNWTO Sec­re­tary Gen­eral.

The launch was a joint ini­tia­tive by ECPAT In­ter­na­tional and the Zim­babwe Na­tional Coun­cil for the Wel­fare of Chil­dren (ZNCWC) and the Min­istry of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try .

The Re­port is part of the Global Study on SECTT - launched in May 2016 - com­mis­sioned by ECPAT In­ter­na­tional, with ex­ten­sive and col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search ef­forts by a range of part­ners across con­ti­nents. In sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, the study was con­ducted at the na­tional level in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Zam­bia in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the African Child Pol­icy Fo­rum (ACPF).

The UNWTO data in­di­cates that tourism in Africa has tripled in the last two decades, and at the close of the year 2015, ar­rivals to Africa were at 54 mil­lion.

The Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa SECTT re­port il­lus­trates that al­though tourism can pro­vide great eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for African economies, it also presents fore­see­able risks to chil­dren if ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion mea­sures are not in place; in­crease in travel and tourism in the re­gion has mul­ti­plied the av­enues and op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren to be­come vul­ner­a­ble to trav­el­ling child sex of­fend­ers.

It means there­fore na­tional gov­ern­ments and tourism op­er­a­tors should adopt strate­gies to mit­i­gate the chal­lenge, and en­sure do­mes­ti­ca­tion of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, par­tic­u­larly Ar­ti­cle 1, sec­tion 3 that calls for pro­hi­bi­tion of “ex­ploita­tion of hu­man be­ings in any form, par­tic­u­larly sex­ual, es­pe­cially when ap­plied to chil- dren, con­flicts with the fun­da­men­tal aims of tourism and is the nega­tion of tourism; as such, in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional law, it should be en­er­get­i­cally com­bated with the co­op­er­a­tion of all the States con­cerned and pe­nal­ized with­out con­ces­sion by the na­tional leg­is­la­tion of both the coun­tries vis­ited and the coun­tries of the per­pe­tra­tors of these acts, even when they are car­ried out abroad”.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, “While tourism has his­tor­i­cally been as­so­ci­ated with North and West African coun­tries (such as Morocco and Sene­gal) an in­flux of tourists seek­ing sex with chil­dren - in­clud­ing in­di­vid­u­als from other African coun­tries - is now be­ing re­ported else­where in the con­ti­nent”.

“Tourism has the po­ten­tial to un­leash mas­sive gains for African economies and de­vel­op­ment, but it is our duty to en­sure that nec­es­sary pro­tec­tion mech­a­nisms are es­tab­lished and im­ple­mented to pre­vent chil­dren from suf­fer­ing un­in­tended con­se­quences,” said Hon­ourable Min­is­ter of Tourism and Hos­pi­tal­ity In­dus­try, Dr Wal­ter Mzembi.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, al­though progress has been made since the First World Congress against Com­mer­cial Sex­ual Ex­ploita­tion of Chil­dren (CSEC) that took place in Stock­holm, Swe­den, in 1996, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the In­ter­net and mo­bile tech­nol­ogy has made it pos­si­ble for per­pe­tra­tors to anony­mously groom and se­duce chil­dren, thus mak­ing them in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble to sex­ual ex­ploita­tion.

The Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa re­port pro­vides an up-to-date anal­y­sis on the sta­tus of SECTT in the re­gion and of­fers a range of rec­om­men­da­tions to bol­ster gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tor re­sponses for pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ing the SECTT crime.

In­tended as a means to gen­er­ate more use­ful and up­dated in­for­ma­tion, as well as to raise aware­ness on the is­sues of CSEC and SECTT, the re­port is also en­vi­sioned as a way to aid the re­al­i­sa­tion of the UN Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals re­lat­ing to the rights of chil­dren to live free from sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and abuse

Dr Mzembi

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