MONTREAL – Transat A.T. Inc., one of the largest integrated tourism companies
in the world and Canada’s holiday travel leader, and Beyond Borders (Au-delà des frontières), a Canadian organization for the defense of children’s rights and the representative of ECPAT International in Canada, have signed an agreement and are joining forces to fight child sex tourism.
In the context of the implementation of its action plan for corporate responsibility supporting more sustainable tourism, Transat wants to contribute to the elimination of this global scourge that involves international travelers, notably through awareness-raising programs. Beyond Borders will provide expertise and training resources to Transat.
The sexual exploitation of children occurs in every society in every nation of the world. It affects not only children living in countries devastated by poverty and war, but also those in wealthy, peaceful nations such as Canada. An estimated two million of the world‟s children are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
“Beyond Borders has unique expertise in Canada in the protection of children from sexual abuse and will support our efforts to raise awareness of this most important social issue for our industry,” said Jean-Marc Eustache, president and chief executive officer of Transat. “In the weeks ahead, we will roll out an awareness and internal communications program as a first step in a process in which we will sensitize our customers and our destination partners.”
For her part, Rosalind Prober, president of the organization and an expert and activist in the fight against child sexual exploitation, explained: “Our role is to give victims of sexual abuse a voice by appealing for better laws and greater social awareness, and also to support effective actions for prevention and intervention. Travel and tourism companies hold a strategic position to support the fight against this worldwide crime perpetrated by adults of all types at every level of society. We are delighted about this new relationship with Transat.”
The fact that individuals go to foreign countries to engage in sexual acts with children is not only socially unacceptable but also criminal. As a result, governments in tourism‟s major source countries have adopted extraterritorial laws that allow prosecution of offenders either in the country where they occurred or in the offender’s home country.
Transat adopted a strong position condemning the sexual exploitation of children when it developed its sustainable tourism policy in 2008.
Transat A.T. Inc. is an integrated international tour operator with more than 60 destination countries and that distributes products in over 50 countries. A holiday travel specialist, Transat operates mainly in Canada and Europe, as well as in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean Basin. Montreal-based Transat is also active in air transportation, accommodation, destination services, and distribution.