The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) held a training workshop on trafficking in persons (TIPS) on July 12, 2012.

This tourism service provider activity was geared towards providing and expanding the technical capacity building of key anti-trafficking stakeholders in Belize in support of the ongoing national response. Trainers Diana Shaw, Raymond James Mossiah and Maria Vega educated 37 tourism stakeholders on key trafficking concepts, the impact of trafficking on tourism destinations, the code of conduct for the protection of children (, the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), the roles and responsibilities of tourism stakeholders and the referral mechanism.

“We are extremely happy to partner with the BTB and BTIA for such an important workshop. We were pleased with the attendance and the fact that participants expressed their satisfaction with the material presented. They are now more aware of the issues involved with human trafficking,” noted IOM project coordinator Diana Shaw. “We hope this training builds a platform from which BTB and BTIA can continue to expand sensitization efforts and get more tourism stakeholders involved in the response. Trafficking in persons is a very serious offence that can severely tarnish the image of the destination and put the livelihoods of so many tourism stakeholders at risk.”

This training was also part of the tourism industry’s commitment to responsible tourism in Belize, focusing on the social component of sustainable tourism and to further strengthen the tourism sector’s role within the national response being led by the ATIPS (Anti-Trafficking in Persons) Committee.

Article 2 of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Global Code of Ethics for Tourism states: “The exploitation of human beings in any form, particularly sexual, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism and is the negation of tourism…”

The Belize Tourism Board has institutionalized CSEC training into all national tour guide training programs as part of its continuous efforts by the tourism industry, and Belize on a whole, to combat trafficking in persons.