Kuoni is commited to respecting and promoting the rights of the child, including protection from sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in tourism, protection from child labour and trafficking. We are aware that our business can directly or indirectly have impacts on children, which we try to maximise if they are positive and minimise if they are negative. Kuoni has actively participated in the consultation on the Children’s Rights and Business Tools developed by UNICEF. They give practical advise on how companies can integrate Children's Rights into their business.
Supplier Code of Conduct
The prohibition of child labour as well as the protection of children from sexual exploitation in tourism is at the basis of any business relationships between Kuoni and our hotel partners and other suppliers and service providers, specified in the Kuoni Supplier Code of Conduct.
With acts of child sex tourism occurring in hotels, Kuoni sees itself as duty-bound to take action against this problem. During the last seven years Kuoni has taken a leading role by engaging with local non-governmental organisations and business partners in building awareness regarding the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation due to tourism. Kuoni has been an active member of the Child Protection Code since 2006 and is represented on its board. We are therefore committed to adhere to the six criteria of The Code.
In collaboration with ITB Berlin, Tui Travel, Accor Group, GIZ and The Code Kuoni launched a project to combat child sex tourism aiming to ensure and inspire action on the issue, through testing and optimization of the tools put in place in Thailand, as pilot country. In 2013 the new e-learning system has been tested and further optimized and at least 60% of The Code members in Thailand have been trained with the new system.
Watch Matthias Leisinger, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Kuoni, explain The Code's aims in an interview by CNN's Richard Quest here.
Kuoni has been conducting a series of workshops with partner hotels on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children since 2006. The programme is intended to help these partners abide by the terms of their contractual agreements with Kuoni and motivate them to play their own active part in preventing such criminal activity. Workshops have already been held with numerous hotels in Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Bulgaria, India and Kenya, and the programme is being steadily extended to further destinations.
Kuoni provides its customers with an informational flyer explaining how they should respond if they suspect a case of sexual exploitation of a child during their holiday. Our message here is always the same: never turn a blind eye! Child abuse can never be tolerated, and can never be excused or explained away as local custom or culture. It is a crime all over the world and must be punished as such. The Kuoni informational flyer is intended to raise the knowledge and awareness of the problem among customers and local service providers, and to show them how they should respond if they suspect such activities.
Kuoni collaborates with local partner organisations to support children and make them aware of their rights:
Children’s Rights in Goa
Kuoni financially supports its partner organisation Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG), an advocacy organisation dedicated to improving the awareness of children regarding their rights and protecting them from all forms of exploitation. The organisation was the first in Goa to draw attention to cases of the sexual exploitation of children within the tourist sector, and has successfully lobbied for the adoption of the Goa Children’s Act, legislation to protect children in India. CRG also takes abused or endangered children into shelters, where it teaches them how they can protect themselves.
Kuoni has also supported CRG in establishing a Child Resource Centre which has become a refuge for children working in local markets, offering them literacy courses, counselling and livelihood training in bicycle repair, jewellery making and tailoring. For the Christmas Campaign 2013 Kuoni colleagues around the world came together to donate a total of CHF 10'000 in funds to CRG. The lucky winner of the Christmas Campaign raffle received a trip for 2 people for 2 weeks to Goa for a cultural exchange with CRG.
Child Welfare Society in Kenya
In Mombasa, a destination at which child sex tourism is an acknowledged problem, Kuoni is involved in a project that is specifically intended to raise public awareness of the issue and change people’s attitudes and behaviour. The ‘Children at Risk’ project of the Child Welfare Society in Kenya is intended to expand the knowledge and the range of options available to people in the local villages, to ensure that children in the region are better protected against sexual exploitation.
The Child Welfare Society of Kenya is building a counselling centre for children and adolescents with Kuoni’s financial support. The centre is designed to allow the kind of exchange between the children involved and volunteer helpers and social workers that can act as a first step in rescuing these youngsters from their situation. By serving as a meeting place, the centre also helps strengthen the children’s confidence and self-awareness. And the external support and advice it provides can help them appreciate their potential, plan their working future and take advantage of local employment opportunities.