Children Are the Future
They Deserve Our Special Protection – Worldwide
The welfare of children in the holiday destinations is very important to DER Touristik. It represents ambitious principles whose goal is to safeguard the rights of children within the tourism industry – for children from the holiday destination as well as the children of guests.
Together Against Sexual Exploitation
A focus of DER Touristik’s commitment to child protection is the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in tourism. DER Touristik is a member of numerous industry initiatives, including the “Kinderschutz” working group of the Deutscher Reiseverband.
In 2016, Sören Hartmann, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DER Touristik Group, signed the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation, “The Code”, during the ITB tourism trade fair in Berlin. This code is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has manifested children’s need for protection since 1989, including the right to freedom, the right to education and the right to protection against violence.
“The Code” contains six criteria that are actively and consistently implemented. Responsible for implementation is ECPAT Deutschland e.V., the Working Group for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation that supports DER Touristik as a competent partner.
- Guidelines and measures against the sexual exploitation of children
- Conduct employee training on the topic of child protection
- Include a clause in hotel contracts: zero tolerance policy and strict refusal of sexual exploitation of children
- Provide information for travellers on child protection as well as on possibilities for reporting suspected cases
- Cooperation with stakeholders in the fight against sexual exploitation of children
- Annual report on the implementation of “The Code”
As part of its information and prevention concept on the child protection programme, DER Touristik trains its employees on children’s rights, prevention options and reporting processes. Employees, students and trainees at the German corporate headquarters are trained and their awareness is raised on the issue of child protection, as are employees of hotels, destination agencies, tour guides and other tourism partners in the holiday destinations.
DER Touristik is involved in designing the regular destination workshops, organised under the leadership of the Deutscher Reiseverband and the children’s rights organisation, ECPAT. As part of the workshops, participants are informed about sexual exploitation of children in tourism, their awareness is raised about it and are trained with regard to dealing with suspicious facts and possibilities for prevention.
In 2021, live training in digital format was implemented as interactive webinars for DER Touristik Hotels & Resorts for the first time. What is more, refresher training was carried out in a number of the hotels that had already received extensive training as part of general training measures.
Raising Travellers’ Awareness
DER Touristik also provides detailed information on child protection for its travel guests. The key message is: show moral courage! Don’t turn a blind eye to suspected cases of violence or sexualised violence, but take action. The focus of the awareness-raising measures is the reporting platform www.nicht-wegsehen.net, the German part of the international initiative www.dontlookaway.report by ECPAT international. Suspicious situations regarding sexual exploitation of children and adolescents can be reported worldwide to ECPAT, and anonymously if desired. ECPAT examines this information and decides which cooperation partner can follow up on the situation. If a criminal offence has been observed, it is possible to report this directly to the Federal Criminal Police Office via the reporting platform.
DER Touristik Demonstrates Responsibility
The Corona pandemic has exacerbated the economic situation in many countries. Fewer travel activities entailed heavy losses in tourism. Many families lost their economic livelihoods, which increased the vulnerability of the weakest in society, most notably children. For the first time in two decades, child labour is on the rise again. There is a growing danger of children becoming victims of sexualised violence. That is why tour operators have more responsibility than ever before.
In 2022, DER Touristik will publish a company-wide Child Protection Guideline. Besides protecting children against sexual exploitation in tourism, the goal is to cover all children’s rights that are affected by the tourism value chain. In addition to a mission statement and strategic implementation processes, the guideline will comprise requirements on products, standards for communication, training and awareness-raising resources as well as internal and external escalation and reporting procedures.