Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and summer is officially here. For many people, summer means vacations, whether to far off and exotic places, grandma's house, or the nearest beach. This summer, your trip can do more than just bring fun and relaxation into your life; it can help fight child sex tourism and exploitation around the world. And you never even have to get off your lounge chair to do it. This summer, consider giving your travel business to hotels, airlines, and tour operators and providers who have signed the Code of Conduct to protect children from sex tourism. Companies who sign the Code agree to take critical steps to prevent the sexual exploitation or sale of children on their properties or through their companies in any way, like training their staff and working with local NGOs. A team of nongovernmental organizations, led by ECPAT International, ensures compliance and helps signatories with training, education, and resources. So far, almost 1000 companies have signed on.
You can get a complete list of all the companies who have signed the Code here. While several European and Asian companies have signed the Code, in the U.S., only one major hotel chain has: Carlson Companies. Carlson Companies owns Regent International, Radisson, Country Inn and Suites, Park Plaza, and Carlson Wagonlit brands. Other U.S.-based signatories include the American Society of Travel Agents and Amazon Tours. Some of the well-known international signatories include the Palladium brand resorts in Mexico and Accor hotels in Europe and Asia.
When making travel plans this summer, consider supporting those travel and tourism industry companies who have taken a stand against child sex tourism. When we as consumers reward companies who make ethical choices with our business, we encourage more companies to follow suite. And if all the hotels, airlines, and travel agencies in the world would stand against child sex tourism together, then the world would be a much safer place for kids to just be kids.