H.M. Drottningens tal vid "UN meeting on travel and tourism"

Förenta Nationernas högkvarter, New York City

(Det talade ordet gäller)

Your Royal Highness
Your Excellencies
Ladies and gentlemen

I am delighted to be here in a room of experts on child rights.

We need many advocates because we have a big and difficult task to tackle: To keep children safe in connection to travel and tourism.

So far, we have collectively failed. Child sexual abuse and exploitation flourishes because we fail to protect the children. I founded the World Childhood Foundation, almost 25 years ago, with the vision of ending child sexual abuse. We see progress, but so much work remains.

Global travel and tourism create great value; travel connects people, builds bridges between cultures, fuels trade and exchange. But sadly, travel and tourism also expose children to great risks and exploitation. Vulnerable children and families are exploited in the fight for survival. Weak protective systems and under-resourced law enforcement makes it too easy for offenders to commit crimes. Bystanders fail to take action, blinded by misperceptions of what abuse may look like, or accepting different norms in places and cultures far away from home. But child exploitation is unacceptable everywhere.

As travel increases again after the pandemic, we have an opportunity to set things right; to shape new patterns and behaviours that keep children safe. The travel sector reaches people in so many ways – from major online platforms to the remote street on the other side of the globe. This gives many opportunities to be the eyes and ears on the ground. And it carries an obligation to ensure child safe-guarding mechanisms. Online behavior is now a fully integrated part of travel. We sadly also see how online abuse is an integral part of the modus operandi of traveling offenders. The ICT sector needs to step-up and play a key role in the protection of children.

Collectively we need to do more. We need to agree on high standards and goals. And they need to be implemented to make real difference on the ground. Together, we need to make sure that what is discussed and agreed by the international community in rooms like this, at the United Nations and by powerful leaders, actually reach all the way to the individual child at risk. That is where it matters.

That is why I am especially delighted that today’s meeting connects the different parts, from global policy makers to local and national partners in Asia and Africa, some of whom I know well from close collaboration with my own organization Childhood.

I look forward to listening and learning from the different experiences, views, and perspectives and to constructive discussions of how to move forward together to keep children safe.

Thank you!