DOT warns vs prostitution, child abuse in new tourism sites

by Donnabelle Gatdula, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 02 2014 10:43 AM | Updated as of Mar 02 2014 06:43 PM

MANILA - The Department of Tourism (DOT) warned that it would crack down on prostitution and child abuse in the proposed new areas for tourism in the country.

“The DOT does not promote these activities nor does it tolerate them,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. told The STAR, allaying concerns raised by civic groups on the possible proliferation of abuses against Filipino women and children once new areas are opened up for tourists.

Earlier, President Aquino posed a challenge to tourism industry stakeholders “to go beyond what (they) have already done.”
“It is not just about sustaining the appeal of already favored destinations; it is also about discovering and marketing hidden destinations,” the Chief Executive said.

The DOT has been conducting awareness seminars on Child Wise tourism and prevention of abuse against children amid the increasing tourist arrivals in the country.

These seminars were held in places frequently visited by foreigners, such as Boracay, Cebu and Baguio City, to rid the industry of criminal elements with psychological disorders.

Child Wise is a global network of organizations and individuals working to eliminate child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of children for sexual purposes. The network is committed to protecting children from abuse and exploitation in Australia, Asia and the Pacific.

The protection of children from all forms of exploitation, the fight against trafficking, anti-poaching and accessible tourism for all are among the work priorities defined by the newly formed World Committee on Tourism Ethics (WCTE).

Based on the WCTE’s action plan in the next four years, it will focus on the exploitation of children in all its forms; trafficking; poaching and illegal trading of wildlife; accessible tourism for all; promotion of fair models of all inclusive holidays; and unfounded ratings on travel portals which may impact the reputation of companies and destinations.