We conducted a workshop on SECTT on 17-22-2017 at the HelpAge Auditorium, Rattanapitiya, Nugegoda with the participation of 35 community leaders and activists from Puttalam, Negombo, Colombo, Mount Lavinia, Panadura and Ratnapura areas. PEaCE, in collaboration with Organization for Environmental Preservation and Children’s Rights, a community development organization based in Ratnapura, conducted this workshop.
PEaCE, as an organization that is committed to provide a sustainable solution to the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, strongly believes that it is timely important to conduct such programmes to support ongoing measures, practices and legal enforcement. The workshop aimed at strengthening capacities of participants to identify paedophiles and maintain proper surveillance.
Participants were grouped into three teams enabling them to discuss and critically evaluate existing measures in addressing the issue. Accordingly, following issues were identified by the three groups formulated a questionnaire, unanimously:
- There is a lack of a formal education system that enables all the children between the age range 5-18 to benefit from free education.
- Children are subject to abuse due to the unequal economic opportunities.
- Issues pertaining to the misuse of the internet and other latest technologies.
- Children are abused by tourist guides upon financial gratifications.
- Relevant laws are not duly implemented.
- Drug/alcohol addiction among children.
- There is a lack of mutual relationships between children and parents
- Migration of mother, father or both.
- Malfunction of organization that with focus on issues pertaining to children.
- Deterioration of socio-cultural norms, values and ethics
- Child labour and the commercial exploitation of children.
In addition to the PEaCE resource team, Mr. Buddhika Prasad Balachandra, Chief Inspector of Police and Lecturer – Police Training School of Kalutara also joined the programme as a resource person and emphasised on the responsibility of parents and adults to take care of and guide the children on protective measures in the contemporary socio-cultural complexities triggered by technological trends etc,.
Seven participants were selected by others from six different geographical locations as members of an action group established with the purpose eliminating SECTT. They also proposed “National Vigilant Group for Combating Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism” as the name of the group.