Friends-International’s ChildSafe Network is absolutely delighted to have been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the field of Child Protection in this week’s Responsible Tourism Awards, held at the World Travel Market in London. We are also very happy that one of our ChildSafe partners, Intrepid Travel, was similarly recognized, as child protection is something in which we all can play a significant role.
Since 2005 ChildSafe has been working to protect all children from all types of abuse – many organizations in the child protection field put the focus on child sexual abuse, but at ChildSafe we recognize that abuse takes many forms, all of which need appropriate response mechanisms. We began this work in marginalized communities, but today ChildSafe reaches out around the globe and seeks to involve every one of us – individuals, organizations and businesses – in the protection of children within our communities. We have built up a Network of trained members, currently numbering over 4,000 strong.
As a global initiative, it means we have many people to thank, who share this award with us – firstly, our wonderful ChildSafe staff, who work tirelessly maintaining a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week support for the ChildSafe hotlines and responding to calls for protection services. They are there whenever that call comes in, ready with the right response to ensure that the child in question gets the protection it needs right away. They are right there on the frontline, and their dedication is amazing, ensuring that 8,000 children received direct protection services in 2012!
Secondly, thank you to our members – as mentioned, there are over 4,000 of them now and they are the eyes and ears of the Network. These are the taxi drivers, street sellers, community members… the hotel staff, the tour guides, tour companies… who are all trained to recognize children in abusive situations, and to respond rapidly and appropriately.
Thank you also to the businesses who support ChildSafe, from restaurants and hotels and guidebooks up to International Airlines, who help spread the ChildSafe messages for us across the world and to the growing number of international travelers who read our 7 Tips and follow them to be responsible travelers, who actively aid in the protection of children across the globe.
Thanks also to our many partners – our tagline is ‘Together, Protecting Children’ and that indeed is exactly what it is, working in partnership to increase our impact globally.
Thanks also go to the travel industry, for not only recognizing our approaches but for now embracing them and for working with us to greatly increase the impact of all we do.
There is still much to do, but exciting times ahead, as more partners join with us to establish a truly global protection network – we have many plans in the pipeline which will unfold in the coming months, and we know you will all be with us, joining the movement to ensure that the children of the world receive the protection they need and deserve.
Thank you once again – ChildSafe may have received this award, but we are all-
‘Together, Protecting Children’