Airline fights sex tourism

ETIENNE LABERGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

MONTREAL — Air Transat has partnered with a national child rights group to help fight sex tourism.

The airline and Beyond Borders — known for its work against the sexual exploitation of children — will launch an awareness campaign targeting travellers who may be using the company’s services to commit crimes overseas.

The campaign, announced Wednesday in Montreal, will include educational posters in affiliate businesses. The airline is also considering screening informational onboard videos, handing out brochures and including articles on the subject in its in-flight magazine.

Air Transat will also encourage customers to tell staff at the carrier if they witnessed a child being exploited while overseas.

The charter airline carries millions of passengers annually to 25 countries.

Child sex tourists usually travel from developed countries to poorer regions of the world, seeking anonymity, available victims and lax child protection laws.

According to Beyond Borders, exploiters often use facilities offered by tour companies, hotels, resorts and other travel and transportation businesses to help them carry out their crimes.

Just a handful of Canadians have been sent to jail on sex tourism charges, including B.C.-native Kenneth Robert Klassen, who recently received an 11-year sentence for having sex with children overseas.

"Most pedophiles who travel don’t know they could be prosecuted on returning to Canada even if they commit their crime in another country," said Gary Ralph, from the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, which welcomes the Air Transat-Beyond Borders initiative.


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