Being a socially responsible leader of the Polish hotel market, as part of its preventive and educational measures to protect minors, the Orbis Hotel Group has signed, in the presence of the Police Commander in Chief and the Nobody's Children Foundation [Fundacja Dzieci Niczyje], a groundbreaking document for the hospitality industry in Poland, namely the Code of Conduct aimed at protecting children against sexual abuse.
As a result of this excellent interdisciplinary collaboration, trilateral commitment and a common vision of promoting good practices to counteract child abuse, Orbis S.A. has signed the Code of Conduct under the honorary patronage and in the presence of the Police Commander in Chief. The Code of Conduct is our response to the global problem of sexual exploitation of minors, both in the world and in Poland, and it is targeted at raising social awareness as well as initiating and implementing measures to prevent this form of child abuse.
The Code of Conduct:
By signing the Code of Conduct, Orbis S.A. joins one of Accor key commitments in its sustainable development program named Planet 21. Through this signature, it has committed to implement the following six criteria:
- To put in place an internal policy aimed at preventing sexual exploitation of children.
- To train hotel staff in respect of the policy put in place by our company. Such training will involve both staff working in countries of origin and in sex tourism destinations.
- To introduce a clause in contracts with suppliers, informing about actions taken against sex tourism in agreements with service suppliers.
- To provide information to travelers by means of catalogues, brochures, flyers, commercials or a website about the issue of sexual exploitation of children and social commitment of businesses to efforts aimed at combating the problem.
- Inform key persons in the local environment of the Company’s policy and cooperate with the police, taxi drivers, owners of bars and restaurants, etc.
- To report annually.
“Protection of children is one of our 21 commitments under the Planet 21 program aimed at sustainable development. The Code of Conduct is an important step in favor of responsible tourism in Poland. As the biggest hotel group in Poland we are showing good practices from hoteliers that are helping to combat negative social issues. Together with our partners, we want to educate and inform guests, clients - so that prevention and awareness is raised on that specific issue in Poland.” - commented Laurent Picheral, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Orbis Group.
The Code of Conduct was created in 1998 upon the initiative of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution Child Pornography & Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), a network of non-governmental organizations taking actions to eliminate the problem of child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of children for the purpose of their commercial exploitation. The Nobody's Children Foundation is the local representative of the Code of Conduct in Poland (the so-called ‘Local Code Representative’) and a representative of ECPAT.
“It was Orbis who initiated the signing of the Code of Conduct, which is a milestone in raising awareness amongst the public and the hospitality industry on the problem of combating sexual exploitation of children” - adds Monika Sajkowska, Director of the Nobody’s Children Foundation.
In Poland, every year the Police identifies more than 5 000 children under 15 years of age who are victims of sexual abuse (under Article 200 of the Criminal Code) and up to a few hundred cases of minors abused in the prostitution business. Many cases remain unidentified because, as underlined by the superintendent Marek Działoszyński, Police Commander in Chief: “Every year we manage to get to hundreds or even thousands of abused children and help them. It is difficult to estimate how many more such cases remain undisclosed. The police obtains information indicating that a child is being abused from various sources. Certainly, the cases of sexual abuse of children will be less numerous, and the combat against such criminal practices more effective if multiple stakeholders are engaged in the process. The Code of Conduct is one of many ways of raising public awareness about the problem of sexual exploitation of children in the hospitality industry. It is important to initiate and implement measures to prevent this form of abuse of minors. The police will always be fully committed to and willing to support such programs.”
Since 2011, Accor is fighting against sexual exploitation of children and its action is based on informing and training employees, raising awareness among customers and suppliers, developing relations with public authorities, and facilitating the integration of minors. As per today, 37 countries where the Group is implemented have signed the Code of Conduct and between 2006 and 2011, 70.000 employees were trained in partnership with ECPAT on how to detect and respond to situations of child abuse. By 2015, 70% of Accor hotel network will have to be committed to protecting children.