The Uruguayan government has announced a new decree which sets out a series of norms to prevent child sexual exploitation in the tourism sector. On Monday, the presidency of the country announced the new measures, which seek to fight the problem of child prostitution and pornography in Uruguay.
According to the decree, companies working in the tourism sector will have to adopt a code of conduct which includes mechanisms to control the selling of children, to defend their rights, and avoid children’s commercial sexual exploitation.
The code of conduct will include methods to impede employees and intermediaries from offering sexual services to tourists. Additionally, promotional tourist packages cannot offer, either explicitly or implicitly, the sexual services of children or adolescents.
The decree also mentions the need to strictly adhere to international and regional conventions that Uruguay has signed up to, including protocols designed to tackle and prevent human trafficking. It noted that: “the problem of child sexual exploitation continues and is even increasing in the region.”
Individuals that wish to report cases of sexual exploitation of minors in tourism operations can do so through a designated number (0800 5050). The telephone line will be managed jointly by the police and the ministry of tourism and sport as part of their eradication programme of child sexual exploitation.
Tourism agencies must also create spaces within their offices to showcase materials, including leaflets, that aim to expose the crime and provide assistance information.
The decree was signed by Uruguay’s president José Mujica, as well as the ministers for tourism and sport, interior, and social development.
Uruguay has stepped up efforts to address the serious problem of sexual exploitation and human trafficking throughout the country. In recent years, the government has prosecuted citizens for paying children for commercial sexual acts. It has also rolled out a sexual exploitation training course for the countries troops, particularly peacekeeping military personnel prior to being deployed, after Uruguayan UN troops were accused of rape in Haiti in 2012.