Child Safeguarding

Children’s rights never go on holiday

The future belongs to children – they deserve special protection around the world

The well-being of children is an issue that is close to the heart of DERTOUR Group. The company requires itself as well as its partners, suppliers and service providers to safeguard the rights of children in tourism. It is a principle that applies to children who live in countries where its customers go on holidays and to children who go along on these trips as well. The DERTOUR Group has drawn up a comprehensive internal child-safeguarding policy based on its Policy Statement on Child Safeguarding. The foundation of this policy is a risk analysis of the company’s value chain conducted in 2022, which identified activities that pose potential risks to the protection of children’s rights. For this reason, the child safeguarding policy places strict requirements on tourism products and activities. It also includes measures and processes that facilitate the active implementation of these requirements.

Learn about ways that children can be affected by tourist activities, the steps that the DERTOUR Group has taken to protect children’s rights and the actions you can take to help us. Let us work together on responsible tourism to make a positive contribution to children worldwide.

Acting responsibly – treating children with respect

Buying gifts and child begging

Children sell souvenirs and services or beg for money in many destinations. Well-intentioned tourists will frequently buy something from children or give them money. But what they do not understand is that their generosity is helping to preserve a vicious cycle of inadequate education and poverty. Children are frequently members of organised gangs, exploited for monetary reasons and prevented from attending school. Gifts given to children can also result in tourists being viewed as superior and generally trustworthy.


Special care must be taken when photographing people, especially children. Photographers should keep the dignity and culture of individuals in mind when they take pictures. No photos should be taken without permission. This rule also applies to children, who are less able to speak up for themselves and require the protection of responsible adults.

Seek professional help

Should a child be exposed to the risk of sexual exploitation, child labour or any other dubious circumstance, action must be taken immediately, and civil courage exhibited. Travellers face a challenge at such times because they lack an understanding of legal regulations and cultural differences. The best option is to seek professional assistance.


Setting limits – schools and orphanages are not tourist attractions

Some schools and orphanages open their doors to tourists, who generally visit with good intentions. But these visits can have serious consequences. UNICEF estimates that up to 8 million children live in orphanages around the world, and the organisation Save the Children reports that 80% of them may not be orphans at all because they have at least one living parent. Human trafficking and the promise of a better life result in children being placed in such institutions. This concept is designed to generate donations and has become a fully-fledged industry in some places. Demand by tourists maintains it. Abuse and constantly changing caregivers (including tourists) affect children and rob them of the prospect of leading independent lives. Criminality, drug addiction and sexual exploitation are widespread.

gemeinsames Essen

Respecting privacy – home stays and projects at eye level

Overnight stays with host families and visits to projects provide a unique opportunity to get to know the way of life and challenges in holiday destinations. They enable the host communities to participate in tourism and generate revenue. DERTOUR Group supports home stays for the purpose of supporting families and encourages visits to selected projects in order to give young people access to training.

If children are involved in home stays or projects, as a vulnerable group they require active protection from adults. Their privacy must be respected. They need a place to which they can withdraw and spend time with their parents. Photographing children requires sensitivity and should be done only after receiving permission from the children themselves and their parent or legal guardian. Special attention must be paid to ensure that interaction is appropriate for both the culture and age. All parties involved in such interaction must act as equals. DERTOUR Group has developed strict child safeguarding requirements for its partners and helps them to put these requirements into practice.

Don’t look away – report suspected cases of sexually exploited children

One focal point of DERTOUR Group’s child safeguarding efforts is the prevention of sexual exploitation of children in tourism. DERTOUR Group is a member of numerous initiatives, including the working group on child safeguarding overseen by the German Travel Association.

In 2016, Sören Hartmann, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DERTOUR Group, signed The Code, a set of rules designed to safeguard children from sexual exploitation. This code is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that has protected children’s rights since 1989, including the right to freedom, the right to education and the right to protection from violence. The Code contains six criteria that are being actively and systematically implemented. ECPAT Deutschland e. V. (Working Group for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation is serving as DERTOUR Group’s expert partner in this effort.


Protecting children’s rights – carefully selecting activities

Children can play a prominent role in tourism, not only where they are the main focal point like high-risk visits to schools and orphanages, but also in many other contexts. They may play a part in cultural presentations, performances, dances and shows. Such activities may blur the line between sharing cultural heritage and commercially exploiting children. It is not easy to distinguish between young people’s right to work and the safeguarding of children from exploitation in the form of child labour. International and national laws and the core labour standards norms of the International Labour Organisation are non-negotiable standards that must be observed. Every form of child labour in the products of DERTOUR Group and its partners is prohibited.

DERTOUR Group Kinderschutzkampange

What DERTOUR Group is doing

  • Publicly communicating a Policy Statement of Child Safeguarding and the implementation of an internal child safeguarding policy with processes and requirements regarding the protection of children’s rights
  • Providing training about children’s rights and child safeguarding to employees, destination agencies, partners, providers, hotels, travel management, project partners and home-stay guest families
  • Implementing a code of conduct in contracts to protect children’s rights and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation
  • Phasing out touristic visits to schools and orphanages and replacing them with programme activities that ensure the protection of children’s rights
  • Promoting local communities and families by integrating home stays and projects into touristic value creation while complying with strict requirements, including the two-adult principle – children are never left alone with visitors
  • Regularly monitoring products and providers to evaluate the implementation of child-safeguarding requirements
  • Setting up networks and conducting a continuous dialogue with child-safeguarding experts and organisations
  • Participating in measures to sensitise various stakeholder groups about the issue
  • Being part of destination workshops in cooperation with the industry, the working group on child safeguarding of the German Travel Association and ECPAT Deutschland e.V. (Working Group for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation)
  • Implementing the six criteria of the child-safeguarding organisation The Code
  • Supporting organisations and projects that promote women and families and provide young people with an opportunity to get an education and live independent lives through the work of the DERTOUR Foundation e.V
  • Conducting regular audits and amending the child-safeguarding policy

You can help by:

  • Refusing to visit schools or orphanages during touristic trips
  • Using the touristic offerings offered by local communities (like cooking courses and home stays)
  • Interacting with children in an age-appropriate manner in consideration of cultural standards and respecting their privacy
  • Exhibiting sensitivity when you photograph children and obtaining their permission
  • Refusing to give money to begging children
  • Refusing to buy souvenirs, goods or services from children
  • Handing gifts for children only to adults
  • Making donations only to reputable organisations and projects that are committed to promoting the families and education of young people, including the DERTOUR Foundation e.V.
  • Reporting violations of children’s rights or suspicions of sexual exploitation

Reporting violations and suspicions

You can help to uncover abuses and report violations of children’s rights or suspected incidents – anonymously if you wish – to the child-safeguarding officer of DERTOUR Group at:

The international platform where suspicious activities can be reported is

You will find additional information at child safeguarding organisations like The Code or ECPAT.

Learn more: Policy Statement on Child Safeguarding