What to do if you are a witness
If you witness a case of child abuse by tourists while you are on holiday abroad you should report this to the tour organiser, the tour guide, and/or the hotel manager. Your embassy and local representatives of non-government organisations also follow up cases reported to them.
When your suspicions of criminal activity involving child sexual abuse by a tourist are confirmed, there is definitely something you can do about it. The sexual exploitation of children is a crime everywhere in the world. In many cases, the perpetrator can be criminally charged in their home country, even when the crime took place in a foreign land.
In order to report the incident to the authorities (see "Contacts"), you should be able to provide clear information.
Be sure to document the following details:
- What exactly did you observe (children being offered for sale by adults, negotiations between children and tourists, explicit gestures, physical contact, etc.)?
- Where did this take place (town, street/square, name of the establishment)?
- When did you see this take place (date, time)?
- Who was involved (name and nationality of the tourist, the child, the person soliciting customers)?
Other important information:
- Day of arrival/departure (airport) of the "suspect"
- The person's home address
- Details on the nationality of the victim
The information should be provided to the investigating authorities and to the responsible embassy or consulate's office. See "Contacts" for addresses. There is always the possibility that the suspicions are unfounded. The documented information can be helpful whether the person is innocent or in the worst case is proven guilty.
If you contact the local police ask for signed official confirmation of receipt of your statement, since this can help the national investigation agency following up this case.
What you can do when you get back home
Inform the travel agents and the tour operator about what you have observed, and about activities to protect children's rights in the country you travelled to! Inform the children's rights organisations of your choice. You can send them the information you have sent to the embassy.Pass on the written information to the relevant investigating authorities in your country if the "suspect" has the same nationality. This can make it easier to collect evidence, particularly if there are links to the production and distribution of pornography involving children.