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Delta Airlines takes a stand to protect child rights

In March, Delta took another step forward as a leader in helping the world’s children: it became the first major airline in the world to enter the fight against the sexual exploitation of children by signing the “Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.”

Mark Engman is in the Office of Public Policy & Advocacy of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

The Code logo.pngDelta Air Lines is a longstanding and strong partner with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, helping raise funds for lifesaving UNICEF programs around the world. In March, Delta took another step forward as a leader in helping the world’s children: it became the first major airline in the world to enter the fight against the sexual exploitation of children by signing the “Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.”

At least 2 million children and youth around the world are victims of sexual exploitation every year. This violation of children’s rights leaves physical and psychological effects that can last a lifetime.

Sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism is a serious problem. Tourists who exploit children often tell themselves that it is just a part of a foreign culture, so they can leave their morals at home. Some sex tourists even convince themselves that sexual exploitation actually helps the child by providing money for food.

Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism

Suppliers of tourism services adopting the code commit themselves to implement the following six criteria:

  • To establish an ethical policy regarding commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  • To train the personnel in the country of origin and travel destinations.
  • To introduce a clause in contracts with suppliers, stating a common repudiation of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  • To provide information to travelers by means of catalogues, brochures, in-flight films, ticket-slips, home pages, etc.
  • To provide information to local “key persons” at the destinations.

Although U.S. laws criminalize sexual exploitation of children by tourists, preventing such abuse requires partners from both the public and private sectors. The Code provides a way for businesses in the travel and tourism industry to combat child sexual exploitation. Organizations that sign the Code of Conduct commit themselves to informing customers on their child protection policy, training staff, reporting cases of child sexual exploitation, and other measures to protect children.

UNICEF was a key player in launching The Code, and helps fund its administration by ECPAT International. As a subscriber to The Code, Delta will implement policies that condemn child trafficking and provide training to help their employees identify and report trafficking activities. Delta will also raise awareness among customers by including information about ECPAT and The Code in its Sky magazine, and on the Delta Air Lines website.

In announcing Delta’s decision to join The Code, Delta’s CEO Richard Anderson, said, “Delta prides itself on doing what is right, and this is the morally right thing to do.”

We couldn’t agree more. Thank you Delta Air Lines!

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