Capacity Building for Tourism Workers

The desire of ill-willed tourists to have sex with children fuels the sex trade.

Since 1980s, the Philippines has been known as a Child Sex Tourism (CST) destination. The trend is for foreign tourists from richer countries to go to less developed countries, where they can pay their way into having sex with children who have none. With millions of tourist arrivals to the country in recent years, Filipino children become more and more vulnerable to CST.

Child sex tourism is a process that often involves the use of tourism facilities such as travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, hostels, brothels, clubs, bars, massage parlors and other related ventures, as well as hired transportation like cabs, tricycles, and vans, to facilitate contact with children. The use of tourism facilities may conceivably allow sex tourists to be anonymous in the surrounding population.

Tourism front liners are therefore in a unique position as they are the ones to most likely witness threats of abuse by travelling sex offenders. Let’s say, a housekeeping staff in a hotel sees a foreigner alone with a Filipino child about to enter a room. What should he/she do? What are the laws that prohibit such act? How can facilities prevent similar situations from happening?

We stress that CST is a crime, and that the welfare of children should never be compromised if only to fulfill the desires of ill-willed tourists. We train and orient hotel staff, tour guides and operators, tourist drivers and operators, tourist police and local tourism officials to make them understand how child rights are violated when tourism is allowed to develop without accompanying policies that encompass preservation of such rights. We provide tourist personnel with tips on how to spot a possible child sex offender and prime them on what to do under particular circumstances. Further, we lobby for tourism business owners to create a child protection policy that shall strengthen the protection of children within their premises.