It is estimated that annually more than one million children worldwide engage in prostitution or are used in the child pornography industry. This multibillion-dollar industry operates through both force and deceit – children are deprived of their rights, their dignity, and their childhood. Commercial sexual exploitation of children – condemned as one of the most hazardous forms of child labor – threatens a child’s mental and physical health and undermines all aspects of development.
What is Sexual Exploitation of Children?
The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a fundamental violation of human rights. Sexual abuse is perpetrated by an adult, who then pays in cash or in kind to the child, or a third person or persons. The child is treated as a sex object and as a commodity – not as a human being. The commercial sexual exploitation of children constitutes a form of coercion and violence. It is forced labor and a contemporary form of slavery. There are three major interrelated forms of commercial sexual exploitation: prostitution, pornography, and sex trafficking. Other forms of child sexual exploitation include sex tourism and early marriages.
Sex tourists who are involved with children often come from various walks of life – they may be married or single, male or female, wealthy tourists or travelers with a limited budget. Pedophiles do not necessarily plan their trip with the intent to exploit a child. Anonymity, availability of children, and being away from moral and social restraints that normally govern their behavior can lead to an abuse in another country. Pedophiles often justify their behavior by arguing that it is culturally accepted in the foreign country or that they are helping the children by providing them with money. Tourism is not the direct cause of sexual exploitation; however, many sex operators do make use of the facilities offered by the tourism industry (hotels, bars, nightclubs, etc.). In turn, the tourism industry can inadvertently help create a demand by promoting the image of an exotic place. Generally, sex tours are arranged informally between friends or colleagues, although there have been cases of travel agents arranging sex tours.
The Action of Anywhere Costa Rica
Anywhere Costa Rica rejects any act that is linked to this type of practice. We encourage our employees, suppliers and customers to support our authorities to ensure that the welfare of our community is maintained and to make relevant reports. Let’s work together to make sure that our children and adolescents do not fall victim to tourism that is focused on child exploitation, pornography and prostitution. You can make your complaint, anonymously or personally, through the National Childhood / Patronato Nacional de la Infancia.
The Code is an industry-driven organization that seeks to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children, especially as it relates to travel and tourism. The Code provides tools and resources for tourism companies to join the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.
Anywhere Costa Rica is a member of The Code. As such, we work with both our staff and clients to help spread the word about the sexual exploitation of children in Costa Rica. Child protection is an integral part of our business.
As a member of this organization, we have a zero tolerance policy towards the sexual exploitation of children. We train our employees on children’s rights and teach them how to report suspected cases of exploitation. We also provide information to travelers on this topic—for example, how to recognize and report the sexual exploitation of children in Costa Rica. Anywhere Costa Rica submits an annual summary of our Code related activities.
By turning child protection principles into concrete action, our company is upholding a commitment to both Costa Rica and our local community. We firmly believe in ethical tourism and work hard to fight against all forms of social injustice.