Millions of children become the victims of sexual violence and exploitation each year. In many cases, sexual offenders misuse the tourism infrastructure for these purposes. For this reason, the travel industry has a special responsibility to help to protect children.
As a way of permanently integrating sustainability into company processes, REWE Group has drawn up a comprehensive sustainability strategy that consists of four central pillars: Green Products; Energy, Climate and the Environment; Employees; and Social Involvement. As part of the pillar Social Involvement, four areas of actions have been defined to develop targeted measures: healthy diets and exercise; opportunities for children and adolescents; vigilant approach to food and biodiversity; and environmental protection. With its activities in the area of action focussing on opportunities for children and adolescents, REWE Group is working for example to protect children.
DER Touristik employs a very ambitious child protection policy. In 2012, it defined a set of principles within its child protection policy that are designed to protect the children of the holiday country and those of guests and to observe their rights within the tourism industry. The child protection policy is widely communicated at all destinations and is a key topic in the training concept used for employees at destination areas (hotel employees and travel guides). They are sensitised about the topic and learn what to do if they suspect that something is amiss. In 2017, the training concept was expanded to employees at headquarters locations, at destination agencies and for important partners.
On 11 March 2016, Sören Hartmann, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DER Touristik Group, signed “The Code”, a code of conduct that is designed to prevent children from being sexually exploited by tourists, during the ITB tourism trade fair in Berlin.
This code was initiated by the German Travel Association on behalf of its members and is based on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. ECPAT Deutschland e.V. – a working group for the protection of children from sexual exploitation – oversees its implementation and supports DER Touristik as an expert partner. With its signature, DER Touristik expressed its commitment to the code and pledged to observe and implement the following aspects, most of which have already been introduced:
In the Travel and Tourism area, REWE Group has joined the fight against sexual exploitation of minors and violence against children. In cooperation with the non-government organisation ECPAT Deutschland e.V., DER Touristik and especially the business travel specialist DER Business Travel work to prevent children from being sexually exploited.
DER Touristik conducted the following activities during the 2018 financial year: