Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR0308- Together we can stop child-sex tourism

Child Wise, Australian and Philippines Government launch campaign against Child-Sex Tourism

Committed to protecting children from sexual exploitation, the Philippines Government is uniting with local and international businesses to participate in an ASEAN-wide advertising campaign which was launched in Manila today.

Speaking at the campaign launch, Secretary of the Department of Tourism, H.E. Mr Joseph Durano, said, “It is clear that there is a deep need to protect our children and our tourism industry. By working in partnership with the business sector, we will send a strong message that child-sex offenders are not welcome in the Philippines.”

“The campaign encourages local citizens and responsible tourists to phone a national hotline if they observe tourists behaving suspiciously around local children,” said Anita Dodds, from Australia’s leading child protection agency, Child Wise.

The new campaign is the result of a ten-year partnership between ASEAN, the Australian Government and Child Wise which has contributed to improved laws, better law enforcement, heightened surveillance, and jail terms for tourists who sexually exploit children.

Australia’s Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Mr Tony Hely, explained, “While most tourists are responsible travellers, the Australian Government is committed to protecting children by helping to stop the small minority of tourists who use their travel as an opportunity to exploit children sexually.”

Ms Dodds commended the Philippines and Australian governments for their practical efforts to stop child-sex tourism whilst also presenting a challenge to business leaders to get involved in the practical child protection campaign.

“We welcome the support of companies who want to make an investment in the safe future of the Philippines’ children. For instance, the Accor Group has made a commitment to display the campaign posters in their Asian hotels. Other businesses may want to sponsor a billboard or a television commercial. There are many ways that businesses can become involved,” explained Ms Dodds.

“Child protection is everyone’s responsibility. The government is committed. The public are already making reports to the hotline numbers. The police are investigating these reports. Arrests are happening. Now we need the support of the business sector to ensure the campaign is visible in all prime tourist destinations,” said Ms Dodds.

Working together we can stop child-sex tourism. If you see suspicious behaviour, please make a report to the authorities on the national hotline 632 524 1660. If you want to learn how your business can participate in the campaign, please contact the Department of Tourism on 632 523 8411.