UNWTO, UNODC, UNESCO launch anti-trafficking campaign

Posted: March 17, 2014 in general

ImageThe United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have joined forces to promote a global campaign urging travellers to support the fight against a number of forms of trafficking.

The Campaign was presented to the tourism sector at the 2014 edition of the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday.

Tagged; ’Your Actions Count – Be a Responsible Traveller’, the campaigns aims to raise awareness about the most common illicit goods and services that tourists might be exposed to while travelling.

It also campaign provides guidance to recognize possible situations of trafficking in persons, wildlife, cultural artefacts, illicit drugs and counterfeit goods, and invites travellers to take action through responsible consumer choices.

“Tourists are global citizens and with over one billion tourists travelling the world each year they must become a force for good. Making the right ethical choice as consumers reduces the demand for illegal products and contributes to preserve natural and cultural assets that form an invaluable part of the heritage of the communities and people we visit” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai during the launch of the campaign.

UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, meanwhile emphasized the importance of informing travellers about where their money ends up when buying illicit products: “Travellers have a responsibility not to contribute to the profits being generated through organized crime. Whether it relates to the sale of people, animal products, drugs, cultural artefacts or counterfeit goods, it is important that travellers fully understand the exploitative nature of these activities. Awareness campaigns such as this one are critical if potential consumers are to be informed about the adverse effects of their purchasing decisions.”

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stressed that protecting cultural heritage is inseparable from protecting people. “Tourists are easy targets for dealers selling cultural artifacts of doubtful provenance,” Ms Bokova said. “They are usually unaware that these ‘souvenirs’ may be stolen heritage – ripped away from their original settings, illegally excavated from archeological sites, or traded by unscrupulous individuals offering meagre payment. Their loss can inflict great damage and sorrow on their rightful owners, for whom such items are an intrinsic part of their cultural identities and values.”

’Your Actions Count – Be a Responsible Traveller‘ will contribute to the United Nations’s goal of combating organized crime as well as upholding the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

The campaign is launched with the support of the Marriott International and Sabre Holdings, the first tourism companies to partner in the campaign, promoting this important message among their millions of customers.

Aside from the heads of the three United Nations organizations, participating at the launch were the newly-appointed chairperson of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics Ethics and former Executive Director of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, the Executive Vice President and Chief Global Communications and Public Affairs Officer of Marriott International, Kathleen Matthews, and the President and Managing Director of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Alex Alt.

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