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August 02, 2010
CBIS Reports Results of Initiative Addressing Child Sex Tourism During World Cup
    by Robert Kropp

Of the eight major hotel chains contacted, only Accor and Carlson distinguish themselves with polices and training of employees on the issue.

In April, as preparations for the 2010 World Cup were underway, a coalition of more than 300 investors, led by Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) and including many members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), sent a letter to CEOs and owners of hotel chains in South Africa, encouraging them to take action to "prevent the sexual exploitation of children and other human trafficking crimes."

Referring to the
The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (The Code), whose signatories agree to develop policies against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, Julie Tanner, the Assistant Director of socially responsible investing (SRI) at CBIS, told at the time of the letter's publication, "There are 900 corporate signatories to the Code, and only three are in the US."

Last week, CBIS published the
results of its World Cup initiative, in which the responses of eight major hotel chains are described.

According to CBIS, Hyatt, Accor, Carlson, and NH Hoteles took action to address child sexual exploitation in South Africa, while InterContinental, Best Western, Starwood, and Hilton did not mention taking action in South Africa. CBIS found that Accor and Carlson were "the only hotels with a systematic approach to address human trafficking with robust and substantive programs and policies on child sexual exploitation."

CBIS considers the program of Accor, which owns more than 20 hotels in South Africa and 4000 hotels worldwide, to be an example for the tourism industry. Addressing child sex tourism has been one the priorities of Accor's sustainable development program since 2006, and the chain provides "information on future goals for its programs and specific detail to demonstrate that its policies and programs are being implemented."

Carlson/Rezidor, which has 1000 hotels in 150 countries and is the only US hotel among signatories to The Code, "trains every new employee on the issue of child sexual exploitation and provides refresher training annually," according to CBIS.

While the overall performance of the other hotel companies contacted was significantly less satisfactory than that of Accor and Carlson/Rezidor, NH Hoteles is a signatory of The Code, and Starwood has a human rights policy that includes child protections.

Stating that it hopes "hotels will take steps on an ongoing basis to address human trafficking throughout their operations worldwide," CBIS concluded, "As shareholders in and frequent guests at several of these companies' hotels, we view their commitment to protect children as an important element of corporate responsibility that will also help to reduce risk and improve operations."


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