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Human rights | Travel - Leisure

Tourists asked to stop child prostitution

afrol News, 30 March - From 1 April, tourists flying to Africa on the German airliner LTU will be shown the short film titled "Please disturb", which urges them to take action if they suspect other travellers engaging in child prostitution. LTU, which serves destinations in seven African countries, had the TV spot produced in South Africa in cooperation with an organisation fighting for children's rights.

The Switzerland-based voluntary organisation Terre-des-Hommes (TdH), which provides "direct support to underprivileged children," agreed on a cooperation with LTU in September last year, after it was clear that child prostitution is becoming an increasing problem in many tourist destinations, especially in poor countries. TdH, which earlier has denounced large-scale paedophilia tourism to The Gambia, found it necessary to inform tourists at large.

The 40-second TV spot was developed by the marketing company McCann Erickson and produced in South Africa with financial support from the German Family Ministry and LTU. It was produced with the aim of "sensitising all air passengers against the global problem of child prostitution or even cause them to act," LTU and TdH Germany said in a joint statement today.

The short film is to be shown on the airlines TV screens on all long distance flights. Titled "Please disturb", the TV spot explains the large extent of this illegal industry and notes that tourists should denounce others engaged in child prostitution. Denouncing the perpetrators was the only way to combat this kind of unacceptable child exploitation.

According to TdH, which has focused much of its work against child prostitution in developing countries, Western tourists have become more aware of the problem. Spokeswoman Christa Dammermann today however told the German news agency DPA that most tourists did not know how to react when observing obvious cases of child exploitation on their tourist destination.

The organisation had been getting a growing number of questions and thus decided to launch the project. According to Ms Dammermann, tourists are well advised to inform the hotel management, which usually is enough. In other cases, travellers could also contact their own embassy.

At LTU, Germany's leading charter airliner, the organisation found support for its need to inform travellers. "Especially as an airliner," today said LTO manager Jürgen Marbach, "we are very aware of our social responsibilities." Mr Marbach added that the company already in the late 1990s had run a campaign against child prostitution on its onboard TV screens.

"We are happy to take on the role of pioneers and are very pleased to be the first and so far only airliner world-wide to be able to run the spot," Mr Marbach added. "At the same time, we hope that more airliners ... become aware of their responsibilities and run the spot ... so that as many people as possible can be sensitised on child prostitution - and thus see to it that children may remain children."

LTU is used as a carrier by several large northern European charter companies, including TUI, but also offers relatively cheap individual trips from mostly Germany to over hundred destinations in Europe and beyond. In North Africa, LTU flies on Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, while its destinations south of the Sahara are Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia and South Africa. Most of these countries experience serious problems of child prostitution.

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