Children are Our Future – Struggle against Sexual Exploitation of Children

by Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik e.V. – A very important interview with Damien Brosnan of the association The Code struggling against sexual exploitation of children. To read more see the website of the organisation:

Violence against children happens everywhere, in every country and across all social groups.
The Code was specifically created to be a child protection tool used by
the industry to combat the commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC) of
children in the context of travel and tourism activities.

We talked to Damien Brosnan and asked him about strategies and ways to struggle against this so horrific crime against children who are our future and must be proteced from any kind of violence.

Milena Rampoldi: Please explain what sexual
exploitation of children means and how children are sexually exploited (main

Damien Brosnan: CSEC can take many forms, each with equally devastating
consequences for children and the communities in which it occurs. The main forms
of CSEC are child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of children
for sexual purposes, while child sex tourism and some instances of child
marriage can be considered as specific forms of child prostitution. 
It occurs for a wide variety of reasons, such as wealth
discrepancies, demand for child sex, gender inequalities, armed conflict,
social attitudes, or extreme consumerism. No country in the world is immune to
the various forms of CSEC, although individual experience and responses may differ.
MR: What does your organisation do to
struggle against the phenomenon?

DB: The Code (short for “The
Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in
Travel and Tourism”) is an industry-led organisation that specifically
aims to work with the tourism industry to protect children from sex tourism.
The idea of membership is to
promote vigilance and to have staff trained in identifying suspect behaviour
and responding appropriately. We provide online training courses for a range of
roles (front-of-house, housekeeping, management etc).

MR: ProMosaik e.V. is convinced that the
problems concerns us all and that we have to struggle all together against it
as society. What do you think about it?

DB: I agree with this statement –
child sex tourism is both a real and potential problem all around the world.
Everyone can play their part in creating a safety net for children, from police
to business owners, and from NGOs to tourists themselves.

MR: What is the relation between tourism
and sexual exploitation?

DB: Our view is that the tourism
industry is not responsible for child abuse, but it is in a unique position to
help keep children safe. Sex tourism offenders may be travelling with the
intent to commit a crime, or it may be an opportunistic event. 

MR: How can we protect children from
these criminals?

DB: As I mentioned, we aim to
develop and extend a safety net for children. This involves raising vigilance
of staff and tourists alike, and promoting appropriate responses when a
potential case is observed.

MR: Is it a third world problem? Why
yes, and why no?

DB: This is a problem that occurs all over the world. No country in the world is immune to the various forms
of CSEC, although individual experiences and responses may differ. For example,
in October 2015, Operation Cross Country IX helped rescue
149 children from sexual exploitation in the USA (some of these cases were
considered child sex tourism).

MR: What have you achieved until now
with your activities and what do you want to achieve in the next future?

DB: We have about 250 members from
around the world, from multinational hotel chains (Accor, Hilton etc) through
to individual tour companies, restaurants, hotels. Over 100,000 employees have
been trained either using our online training modules or through in-house
training arranged by our members. Our members have also reported instances
where potential cases of child sex tourism have been identified and prevented,
in part due to the increased vigilance of trained staff 
We hope that membership will
continue to grow, and that members implement the 6 criteria of The Code to
improve the safety net for children.