More than 20 Bogota tourist businesses have signed onto “The Code,” a UNICEF-backed initiative that trains employees to spot signs of child prostitution and report it, the city’s highest tourism official said Thursday.
Luis Fernando, director of the District Tourism Institute, told Colombia Reports the city wanted to train 120 businesses using The Code in the next four years.
The idea of the project is to increase the amount of people beyond law enforcement who are able to recognize child exploitation and prevent it. “We’re looking for more support from the private sector,” Fernando said.
Bogota hotels that opted into the initiative, for example, received training from the city’s tourism police for all levels of their staff, from managers to baggage handlers.
The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, or simply The Code, began in Scandinavia in 1997.
“The tourism industry is not accused [of] encouraging this unwanted phenomenon,” the UN website said, but “tourism companies who [suspect] or are aware that [they] are being used as vehicles [for] potential sex offenders are indirectly responsible for their acts.”