Lao PDR's Tourism Authority sets up a Child Protection Hotline
Vientiane, December 7, 2009: A new 24-hour telephone hotline has been launched by the Lao National Tourism Administration and the Tourism Police to help keep children safe from sexual exploitation. The hotline number 192 was launched to coincide with the opening of the 25 th South East Asian (SEA) Games as part of efforts to make the event a safe experience for children.
Staffed by a specially trained team of tourist police, the toll-free hotline has the support of the United Nations and a number of International Non Governmental Organisations.
Speaking at the hotline launch this week, Vice Chairman of Lao National Tourism Administration Mr. Seukasoum Bouhisane said the SEA Games were a chance for Laos to demonstrate its hospitality and its standing in the region. At the same time, he added: "We must ensure that our children share this experience positively and safely."
The launch of the Hotline 192 was preceded by a symposium on Tourism and Child Protection, discussing the risk of child sex tourism and how Lao children could be kept safe. The symposium was held to mark the International Day Against Child Trafficking.
The campaign leading up to the launch included awareness-raising among school children in Vientiane, and training for tourist police and hotline operators. The hotline is being promoted through billboards, banners, and other materials around the city.
The campaign is supported by UNICEF, UNODC, UNIAP, UNV, AFESIP, Village Focus International, World Vision, Plan International and Friends International.