MODS in media News Protection from violence

A declaration on the protection of children from abuse in tourism was signed at the Tourism Fair.

Representatives of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), the Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS), the Business Association of the Hotel and Hospitality Industry (HORES), and the National Association of Travel Agencies (YUTA), under the auspices of UNICEF, signed today at the Tourism Fair in Belgrade a joint Declaration on commitment to the prevention and protection of children from sexual abuse in the context of tourism and travel.

Saša Stefanović from the Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia assessed that today’s signing is a significant step for this organization and the children themselves. ‘It is good that the private sector in tourism has shown commitment and willingness to do everything in their power to protect children from exploitation in tourism,’ said Stefanović.

The secretary of the PKS Tourism Association, Tijana Maljković, told Tanjug that it is important for this business association to communicate with its members on the topic of protecting children from abuse because they have a lot of contact with children in their business.

Milena Timotijević from UNICEF pointed out that violence against children occurs in all spheres of their lives: in the family, at school, on the street, and on the Internet. She emphasized the importance of all actors participating in the prevention and elimination of violence. ‘It is important to join forces and create mechanisms that eliminate the risks of violence against children in all areas. In this sense, the business sector also has a very delicate responsibility and the ability to act preventively. That is why today’s event is, in a way, a pioneering enterprise,’ stated Timotijević.

She added that this is the first time that actors from the economic sector take responsibility for this important topic and recognize the risk of violence that can occur in direct contact with the children of people who work in tourism. Explaining the risks and risky situations for children in this area, she stated that it involves schools in nature and recreational classes. ‘Tourist guides, animators, people who are involved in the organization of these trips in some way come into direct contact with children and they can use such opportunities to harm children,’ said Timotijević.

Jelena Stojanović, the Deputy Ombudsman for Children’s Rights, emphasized the importance of protecting children from any form of sexual exploitation, including within the tourism sector, for the Ombudsman institution. ‘This is especially crucial to us, considering that children often utilize services in the tourism industry. It’s imperative that both the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and YUTA recognize this issue and have signed the declaration,’ she stated. Ensuring the protection of children from all types of exploitation and abuse remains a top priority for the Ombudsman of the Republic of Serbia, particularly within the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The signing of the Declaration represents a significant step in strengthening prevention and responding to the protection of children from any form of violence. It indicates that the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, along with its members in this sector, recognizes the need for such a unified document. This serves as testimony that when it comes to children, we are all on the same path and will undertake all necessary activities, each within our own domain, to ensure their protection.