The NH hotel chain in Mexico and ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes)today signed The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. The Code of Conduct is a tool that promotes the cooperation of the travel and tourism industry to prevent and combat sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
The Code of Conduct was designed in 1998 by ECPAT Sweden in cooperation with Scandinavian tour operators and the World Tourism Organization. Since 2000, the Code has expanded as an ECPAT project, as part of a campaign signed by the European Union, led and supported by the World Tourism Organization.
The Code, which is promoted and supported by UNICEF globally, has been adopted worldwide by over 900 tour operators, hotels, travel agencies and their associations, such as trade unions from 34 European countries, Asia, North America, Central and Latin America. In Mexico, ECPAT USA has signed the Code in Quintana Roo with 18 tourism associations, with three mayors and their respective DIF, the CROC, four transport unions and taxi drivers and hotel companies with 11 to 38 properties in this region and in other tourist destinations.
Specifically, the Code of Conduct signed by NH is the commitment to take the following actions:
- Adopt an ethical corporate policy against sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
- Train all staff about sexual exploitation of children and adolescents and how to prevent it.
- Introduce a clause in their contracts with suppliers that declare their common rejection of commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
- Inform tourists by various means they deem appropriate (catalogs, brochures, pamphlets, videos, websites.
- Provide information to local actors who are key in tourist destinations.
- Report annually on implementation of the above criteria.
The Code of Conduct was signed by Amaya Renobales, Project Director of ECPAT USA, Protect Children in Tourism Project and Jose Ignacio Garay, Quality Manager, NH Hoteles Mexico. Witness to the signing were Susana Sottoli UNICEF Representative in Mexico, César Costa, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Mexico and Eduardo Cuevas, Chief Operating Officer of NH Hoteles Mexico.
“NH is the largest hotel chain in Mexico to have signed the Code of Conduct, so this signing will have a major impact. By training all staff, partners of NH will go home knowing what child sexual exploitation is and how to prevent it, when and where to report, and with the awareness that they must protect their children and their families. Tourists in Mexico will also know that child sexual exploitation is a crime and not tolerated by either the industry or by society and that here you can enjoy a healthy and responsible tourism,” said Amaya Renobales, Project Director of ECPAT USA.
Jose Ignacio Garay, Quality Manager, NH Hoteles Mexico stated that “the signing of the Code falls within the strategic plan for corporate responsibility in the chain to meet the challenges of society. We are signing this to show our commitment to a sustainable tourism, as economic activity respects local community welfare and protects the rights of children and adolescents.”
Meanwhile, Susana Sottoli UNICEF Representative in Mexico appreciated the commitment shown by NH and stated that “adherence to this Code of Conduct is of strategic importance to converge the private sector, NGOs and international organizations in a common objective that has to do with the protection of child rights and in this particular case in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.”
Reflecting the commitment of NH, on the day the signing took place, NH and ECPAT USA began formal training of human resources and training staff in the hotels, who, in turn, will replicate this information to all staff of the 20 properties in Mexico.