How you can help as a traveller
Before your trip
There are many ways in which you, as a tourist, can play an active part in the fight against child abuse in the context of tourism. It starts with booking your travel. Verify that your travel agency, airline and/or hotel has signed the “Tourism Child Protection Code”. If they have, you can rest assured that their staff has been made aware of the issue and received training.
Are you interested in doing volunteer work abroad?
Make sure that the organisation arranging your placement takes all of the ethical and child protection issues into account rather than pursuing purely commercial interests alone.
During your trip
Have you seen something suspicious during your holiday or your volunteer work? If so, report it!
If you see something suspicious, you can help the victims by reporting this to the hotel reception desk or the local agent of the tour operator. If you have the feeling that members of the hotel or tour operator’s staff are themselves involved in the crime, you can notify the local ECPAT organisation or the travel agency in your country of origin.
You can also make a contribution by keeping your distance from dodgy hotels, discos and massage salons in which children work.
Helping children on the spot
It is possible that children or organisations will ask you for help on the spot. In some cases, children contribute a substantial amount to their family’s income through begging, because their parents’ earnings are inadequate to feed their families due to local conditions. This is a structural problem, and certainly not one for which the support of begging children constitutes a viable long-term solution.
If you are interested in visiting an aid organisation or a school that is working to promote children’s rights, make preparations before your departure: contact an organisation in Switzerland that works closely with projects and organisation in your destination area to ascertain which of the organisations and projects there are trustworthy.