World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) and other 45 organisations from public and private sectors have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Child Safe & Friendly Tourism and jointly declared collaboration towards anti-human trafficking. The key message of this MOU is to promote tourism businesses, especially hotel owners, to be part of the effort that responds to human trafficking, as well as to impose and vigilant measure to detect suspicious behaviours of people involved in human trafficking and all forms of child sexual exploitation. Employees in the hotel business will receive online personnel development and essential skills training in vigilance over human trafficking, especially cases that involve child sexual exploitation. Information will be disseminated among tourists and the general public to educate people to practice child protection and safeguarding and to report incidents should they come across suspicious human trafficking activities or children in at-risk situations where their rights are violated. Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Manat Kansai has recently presided over the MOU signing ceremony, joined by WVFT National Director Dr Sarawut Rachasrimuang, at Holiday Inn Chiang Mai.
It is reported that there are more than 38 million tourists visiting Thailand each year, generating 2 trillion baht revenue. However, what is much concerning is 20% of this number is found to be increasingly engaged in human trafficking and exploitation of children in Asian countries.
WVFT has been part of the committee that jointly develops a collaborative effort to promote Child Safe & Friendly Tourism, carried out by Foundation of Child Understanding and its child protection partners, including 45 government agencies as well as hotel and tourism businesses in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Lampun provinces. The target implementation area will expand to cover Bangkok, Chonburi (Pattaya), and Phuket in 2020.
WVFT National Director Dr Sarawut Rachasrimuang said, ‘Child protection is clearly our standpoint. WVFT has actively carried out anti-human trafficking operations since 2003, the year when the Child Protection Act BE 2546 was introduced. In the following year, Thai government declared human trafficking as a national agenda that required earnest attention from all sectors. Until today, WVFT has been taking anti-human trafficking work seriously by partnering with public and private networks at regional and national levels, down to villages along the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Lao PDR, with the determination to protect children, to ensure that they will grow up to become quality adults who can safeguard the next generations of children to carry on the intention of WVFT’s work’.