UN to Step Up Efforts Against Human Trafficking in Tourism
Vienna. UN agencies on tourism and on crime joined forces on Tuesday to condemn human trafficking in the tourism sector, whether for the sex trade, hotels or gastronomy.
“We must raise awareness of human trafficking in the tourism sector,” Yury Fedotov, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said in a statement, after meeting his counterpart from the World Tourism Organisation Taleb Rifai.
“Consumers should be able to make an informed choice about where they choose to spend their money — and crucially, how it will be used.”
About one billion people — a seventh of the world’s population — were expected to travel abroad this year, and while this stimulates economic growth and development, some are exploiting the sector for human trafficking.
Women and children especially were traded for sex, but were also made to work in kitchens, bars and guesthouses, the agencies noted.
And tourism was also closely linked to other illegal activities like forced begging and organ trafficking.
“It is appalling to see tourism infrastructure being used by traffickers to victimize the vulnerable,” said Rifai.
“Our sector is firmly committed to reclaim this same infrastructure and use it for awareness raising in the fight against trafficking.”
Codes of conduct for hotel and tourism companies were one way to help eradicate human trafficking in the sector, said the UN agencies, who have signed a deal to step up cooperation on this issue.
But these measures needed to be expanded and strengthened, along with the prosecution of tourists who had sex with minors, they said.
Representatives of over 100 states and several dozen non-governmental organizations are gathered in Vienna this week for a meeting of the UN’s Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.