Around the world, between 13 and 19 million people under the age of 18 work in an occupation tied to tourism, according to the ILO. This represents some 10-15% of the tourism workforce. Underpinning these high numbers is poverty. For children from families too poor to send them to school, tourism can present opportunities to earn an income. In many destinations, this is a stark example of how the supposed wealth generated by tourism is not being equally shared across society. It can also leave children open to one the most abhorrent forms of exploitation – child sex tourism.
Exploitation of children
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.