Canadian Awareness-Building Campaign to Combat Child Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism

Campaign launch workshop – Montreal Airport

If we can help dissuade a few individuals from going through with the act, we will have succeeded in protecting children.
Colette Girard, Jolivac

Project duration : 2009 - 2012

Following its active involvement in the 3rd World Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth in Rio de Janeiro in November 2008, the Bureau decided to continue to take part in the fight against all forms of exploitation, and particularly child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. Noting Canada’s delayed reaction to this issue, the IBCR hoped to attack the problem from a national perspective first. And so, at the start of 2010, the IBCR initiated a coalition with the Toronto organisation OneChild and the international development agency Plan Canada, in collaboration with UNICEF Canada, in an effort to combat this scourge. This alliance, which other actors in the public and private sectors were invited to join, led to the creation of a national awareness-building campaign that was officially launched in November 2010.

Project goals:

The fundamental goal of this programme was to prevent child sexual exploitation in the context of tourism, particularly as practiced by Canadians traveling abroad. More specifically, the project aimed to:

  • Raise awareness in the Canadian travel industry by adapting successful initiatives from other parts of the world to the Canadian context
  • Promote the incorporation of child protection into corporate social responsibility in Canada
  • Develop alliances with tourism institutes in Quebec and Canada

The awareness-building campaign, which was launched nationwide at the end of 2010, informed Canadians of the legal and social consequences of sexual tourism involving children and urged Canadians traveling abroad to report any criminal acts they might witness.

Various media tools were mobilised to make this possible. For example, the IBCR organised three forums, held successively in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, which brought together members of the tourism industry, law enforcement agents, non-governmental organisations and government representatives.

The Bureau also offered training to travel agency employees and took part in the conference “Responsible travel and tourism” in October 2010 to present the work that had been accomplished through the project. Information was distributed at strategic points (travel agencies, tour operators, travel service providers, airports, etc.) by using different media (posters, brochures, full-page ads in the Air Canada magazine En Route, etc.). By taking part in the Montreal International Tourism and Travel Show in October 2011

the Bureau was able to inform some 35,000 visitors and 153 exhibitors from the private sector about child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.

Finally, in December 2011, the IBCR launched its online campaign by asking different travel agencies to publish this ad banner, designed by the agency BCP, on their website. The banner redirected readers to the campaign’s Facebook page.

This Canadian awareness-building campaign to combat child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism was followed by a series of bilateral initiatives aimed at eradicating sexual tourism in destination countries. Costa Rica was one of the first countries targeted for such a partnership with Canada.


The Code is an industry-led, multi-stakeholder initiative whose mission is to promote awareness and provide tools and support to the travel and tourism industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children within the context of travel and tourism.

The Bureau was selected to represent The Code in Canada and invite Canadian companies to subscribe to The Code and become leaders in social responsibility.


  • Intervention locations : Canada
  • Project duration: 2009-2012
  • Partners :
    • OneChild, Plan Canada, UNICEF Canada, The Code, Air Canada, The Montreal, Quebec, Toronto and Vancouver airports, Canada Border Services, Agency, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (Montreal police), The Sûreté du Québec
  • Highlights:
    • Creation, in Montreal in December 2009, of the first Quebec forum dedicated to “Protecting children against sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.” The forum was held the following year in Toronto, and then in Vancouver in 2011.
    • Over 100 posters and 9,000 brochures were distributed to travel agencies, tour operators, travel service providers and consulates across Canada.
    • The awareness-building campaign reached 3 million passengers through ads for the campaign in the Air Canada magazine enRoute.
    • 1,800 people followed the campaign on Facebook.
  • Fields of activity and expertise :
    • Advocacy and institutional support
    • Training leadership
    • Child sexual exploitation

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