On the occasion of the Regional Expert Group Meeting: “Trafficking in Persons for Labour Exploitation, Particularly Children in South Eastern Europe”, which was held on 13-14 April 2021, organized by UNODC in collaboration with the National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Illegal Migration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Samir Rizvo, and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Mercure Belgrade Excelsior hotel had the opportunity to share its experience and stance on the sensitive topic of sexual exploitation of children.
The Marketing Manager at Mercure Belgrade Excelsior, Mrs. Selena Djordjevic, pointed out that ACCOR group, to which the hotel belongs, is the first multinational chain of hotels that formalized its cooperation with ECPAT, and has ever since fought this kind of criminal activity in all hotels under the group’s umbrella. Through its programme called WATCH – We Act Together for Children, employees of hotels are trained to detect and prevent potential problematic situations to ensure the safety of all guests. In addition to this, another goal is also to reduce potential legal liabilities, operational risks and potential reputation damages. The common foundation of all these actions is the high level of cooperation of every hotel with local authorities and civil organizations while facing these issues is a key part of the group’s Corporate Social Responsibility Charter backed by the highest levels of management.
Mrs. Djordjevic also underlined that in 2019, after seven years of successful collaboration, the hotel opened a new chapter in its cooperation with NGO Atina, by involving employee training and awareness-raising in a common effort to enlist more engagement of industry stakeholders. Atina provided required information regarding the topic of sexual abuse of children and social integration programs for victims of trafficking, but it also trained the hotel’s staff to recognize and adequately react to potentially problematic situations.
As for operational terms, Mrs. Djordjevic concluded that, with Accor and NGO Atina by its side, Mercure Belgrade Excelsior is proud for absolutely not tolerating witnessing or suspecting this problem. It is a commitment to Accor Group and to morality to be determined to combat all forms of sexual abuse of children that could occur and run campaigns to raise awareness among the guests and partners as well.