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

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A Code of Conduct designed for tour operators and travel agencies worldwide.

Type of intervention


Target population

The Code, short for ‘The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (SECTT)’, is targeted at adults working within the hospitality, airline, and transport and travel industries.

Delivery organisation

After the first World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in 1996, End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) Sweden developed The Code in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and several Swedish tour operators.

The Code was then spread worldwide through partnerships with the ECPAT Network, UNWTO, and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Since 2004, The Code has operated as an independent non-profit organisation.

Today, it is a global multi-stakeholder organisation based in Thailand, with high-level leadership coming from both the tourism industry and civil society. Expansion and impact in many countries is driven by partnerships with passionate local non-governmental organisations, which we call local code representatives (LCRs).

Mode and context of delivery

The Code trains industry professionals to recognise signs of potential sexual exploitation of a child, then how to effectively and efficiently make a report. The Code also works with representative in-country LCRs to deliver in-house training for staff, and/or provide e-learning modules on the nature of the crime as well as 10 different scenarios for particular staff/industry duties.

Level/Nature of staff expertise required

LCRs must be working for a child-protection organisation, preferably an ECPAT member. If we have an ECPAT member in that country, they will typically be the LCR and therefore the key point of contact for a company. The Code Secretariat must have significant background in child protection, child safeguarding and preferably preventing SGBV.

Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)

Companies can contact the Code Secretariat directly whenever they would like to, as well as their LCR. The Code Secretariat undertakes yearly assessments of whether companies are fulfilling the six criteria (outlined under ‘description of intervention’) through annually submitted reports.

Description of intervention

The Code is a project joining the tourism private sector and the children’s rights non-governmental organization ECPAT, aiming to prevent sexual exploitation of children at tourism destinations. The Code trains and supports travel and tourism companies to develop effective mechanisms to prevent SECTT from occurring and protect all children on their premises, and in the industry more broadly.

When companies join the Code they commit to six essential steps to keep children safe, described as the six criteria:

  1. Establish a policy and procedures – against the sexual exploitation of children
  2. Train employees – in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases
  3. Include a clause in contracts – through the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children
  4. Provide information to travellers – on children’s right, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases
  5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders – in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children
  6. Report annually – on implementation of the six criteria


There are annual reports and an online platform by which companies can update their progress in all six Code criteria, i.e. the number of staff trained, the child protection policy in place, the clause on zero-tolerance policy to SECTT in supplier contracts, the information provider to travelers and how they are engaging stakeholders and submitting annual reports.


Contact details

Email address:

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Information correct at November 2019