Madrid meeting looks to overcome tourism's vulnerabilities to crime and terrorism

UNODC Chief address calls for tourists to be alert for trafficking crimes, while also noting that recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Jakarta tragically target tourists.

Madrid/Vienna, 22 January 2016 - Tourists may be unknowingly lining the pockets of traffickers and criminals exploiting child labour, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, told a meeting on tourism and security in Madrid today.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), the UNODC Chief said that tourism and travel are an integral part of global connectivity, but were also extremely vulnerable to the predations of organized criminals and terrorists.

"[Tourism and travel] may be contributing to the profits of drug kingpins. Innocent souvenirs may in fact be trafficked cultural artefacts, or illegal wildlife and forest products," said Mr. Fedotov. He also noted that the recent terrorist outrages in Istanbul and Jakarta make it "tragically clear" that terrorist groups are also targeting tourists, transport facilities and tourism destinations.

To develop countermeasures, Mr. Fedotov said the international community needed to address tourism and security as part of Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which strives for peace and justice and strong institutions. He praised Central American countries for their leading role in linking tourism to poverty eradication and other development concerns.

"Such a multi-dimensional approach requires solid criminal justice responses, rooted in human rights and the rule of law, to prevent criminals and terrorists from taking advantage of poverty, from exploiting vulnerabilities and perpetrating violence," he said.

UNODC supports these efforts by promoting better coordination between criminal justice agencies, developing greater cooperation among the world's regions, and encouraging the effective use of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its protocols on migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

The Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, delivered the opening speech of the meeting , and was followed by other high-level speakers, including the Minister of Tourism for El Salvador, Jose Duarte, and experts in the fields of communications and tourism and development.

Prior to the meeting, Mr. Fedotov met with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ignacio Ybáñez.

Remarks by UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov at the High-Level Meeting on Tourism and Security

For further information please contact:

David Dadge 
Spokesperson, UNODC 
Phone: (+43 1) 26060-5629 
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629 
Email: david.dadge[at] 

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