Sion's 19th International Seminar "Nutrition, Health and Children's Rights" to be held from the 9th to the 11th of October has been postponed. We apologize for this inconvenience!

International Alternative Care Conference #AlternativeCare2016 "Building on the Momentum" from 3 to 5 October 2016 in Geneva! Twitter: #AlternativeCare2016 @altcareGva

Report/Interviews, by Evelyne Monnay, 24th October 2013

It is with great satisfaction that the IDE closed it's successful 2013 International Seminar, which brought together 120 participants from around the globe on the issue of sex tourism involving children. The discussions focused on the factors pushing criminals and victims to join in this form of exploitation, as well as courses of action.

Dedicated to research on sexual exploitation of children since 30 years, the American David Finkelhor is well suited to model these mechanisms. From the perspective of the offender - who is for example persuaded that the offence is weaker elsewhere, that children are willing or that he comes to help them - the researcher noted that it is possible to increase the offenders capacity to self-control, and to strengthen external factors that inhibit the acting out. There are also strategies to increase the childrens' resistance.

On the side of the victim, the seminar provided a view into different realities (Cambodia, Madagascar, Kenya, Santo Domingo, Brazil, Morocco). Sometimes parents push children into unmarked commercialized sexuality but there is also the pride associated with frequenting a foreigner and low educational levels. According to the anthropologist Alice Binazzi Daniel, who has studied the case of Santo Domingo, one should encourage local initiatives for the protection and rehabilitation of victims: mp3listen.

Essentially, it is a matter of wealth alongside poverty, an explosive mixture, the adverse effects are even more difficult to counteract/quantify because they occur mostly in the informal sector. For Andreas Astrup, General Manager of the organization The Code, the tourist industry still has a role to play: mp3listen. Nevertheless, the sociological eye of Julia O'Connell Davidson deconstructs the apparent consensus which has been tackled at an international level since the 1990s: mp3listen. Tourism in question. Frédéric Thomas wears his economist view on a matter of interest, perhaps development, but in any case long term: mp3listen (in French).

During the four workshops, the seminar participants focused on possible actions. Regarding state responsibility, it was proposed to establish a model law for the harmonization of national legislation with international legal instruments including provisions for the fight against impunity (including extra-territorial justice) and awareness / education (for example on the internet). They were also asked to create or encourage "safe spaces" for victims as well as a follow up and social monitoring of their families. The police and judicial system, were asked by participants to implement a victim-centered model - the current procedures are often discouraging - and the creation of a tourist police was also recommended.

Tourism stakeholders were advised to implement simple reporting mechanisms (for example a hotline); to encourage alternative income generating projects; to contribute to the victims and research (the production of data was also requested); to participate in the creation of a network of associations and companies or even a public-private multidisciplinary unit to act on this issue.

Generally, more collaboration was requested (interstate between embassies and local police, with NGOs), as illustrated by Bernard Boëton, Child Rights Advisor at Terre des Hommes: mp3listen (in French).

In 2014, the international seminar in Sion will be themed: "New technologies and children's rights: the right to information vs. right to protection".

Pictures gallery, by Claire Littaye.

Note: The detailed content of all conferences will be published later.

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The International Seminar in Sion won't occur in 2014, because of IDE's commitment in other activities at the same dates. See you in 2015 for a new edition of this important event!