Report concerns, suspicions and abuse to the designated AFRICA ADVENTURE compliance officer at PSEA@africa-adventure.net
We treat all reports confidential and on request anonymously.
1. Introduction and Preamble
AFRICA ADVENTURE places human dignity at the centre of its tourism development work. At the heart of AFRICA ADVENTURE’s efforts to impact poverty and social justice is its engagement with marginalised communities, and vulnerable adults and children.
Vulnerable adults and children are particularly at risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. This policy defines AFRICA ADVENTURE's commitment to the protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) of vulnerable adults, involving AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure. In recognition of the special vulnerability of children, this policy also affirms AFRICA ADVENTURE’s commitment to the welfare and protection from sexual exploitation and all forms of abuse of children, involving AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure.
AFRICA ADVENTURE has a zero tolerance toward sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse. AFRICA ADVENTURE takes seriously all concerns and complaints about sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse involving AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure. AFRICA ADVENTURE initiates rigorous investigation of complaints that indicate a possible violation of this policy and takes appropriate disciplinary action, as warranted.
2. Scope of Application
This policy applies to all AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure.
3.1 Children and vulnerable adults
A child is any individual under the age of 18, irrespective of local country definitions of when a child reaches adulthood. Vulnerable adults are defined as:
- those aged over 18 years and who identify themselves as unable to take care of themselves/ protect themselves from harm or exploitation; or
- who, due to their gender, mental or physical health, disability, ethnicity, religious identity, sexual orientation, economic or social status, or as a result of disasters and conflicts, are
deemed to be at risk.
3.2 Sexual Exploitation
Sexual exploitation means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
3.3 Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.
3.4 Child Exploitation and Abuse (involves one or more of the following)
a. Physical abuse
Physical abuse occurs when a person purposefully injures or threatens to injure a child or young person. This may take the form of slapping, punching, shaking, kicking, burning, shoving or grabbing. The injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures.
b. Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is inappropriate verbal or symbolic acts toward a child or a pattern of failure over time to provide a child with adequate non-physical nurture and emotional availability. Such acts have a high probability of damaging a child’s self-esteem or social competence.
Neglect is the failure to provide a child (where they are in a position to do so) with the conditions that are culturally accepted as being essential for their physical and emotional development and well-being.
d. Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that s/he does not fully comprehend, give informed consent to, or for which s/he is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society. It is evidenced by an activity between a child and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a relationship of responsibility, trust or power, the activity being intended to gratify or satisfy the needs of the other person. It may include, but is not limited to, the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity, the exploitative use of a child in prostitution or other lawful sexual practices or the exploitative use of pornographic performances and materials.
Grooming generally refers to behaviour that makes it easier for an offender to procure a child for sexual activity. It often involves the act of building the trust of children and/or their Africa Adventurers to gain access to children in order to sexually abuse them. For example, grooming includes encouraging romantic feelings or exposing the child to sexual concepts through pornography.
f. Online grooming
Online grooming is the act of sending an electronic message with indecent content to a recipient who the sender believes to be less than 18 years of age, with the intention of procuring the recipient to engage in or submit to sexual activity with another person, including but not necessarily the sender.
3.5 Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
Use of the term “Sexual exploitation and abuse” throughout this policy refers to children as well as vulnerable adults.
3.6 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure
The term “AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure ” includes all employees of AFRICA ADVENTURE and all AFRICA ADVENTURE Members. (Non AFRICA ADVENTURE entities and their employees and individuals who have entered into membership with AFRICA ADVENTURE.)
4. Core Principles
In order to protect the most vulnerable populations, particularly vulnerable adults and children, and to ensure the integrity of AFRICA ADVENTURE as a destination marketing organisation, the following six Core Principles must be adhered to:
- Sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse by AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure constitute acts of gross misconduct and are therefore grounds for termination of employment or membership accordingly.
- Sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is prohibited regardless of the age of the majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief in the age of the child is not a defence.
- Exchange of money, employment, goods, or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour by AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure is prohibited.
Where an AFRICA ADVENTURE Employee or Member of Africa Adventure develops concerns or suspicions regarding sexual abuse or exploitation and child abuse by a fellow worker, whether in AFRICA ADVENTURE or not, he or she must immediately report such concerns via the established reporting mechanisms.
AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure are obliged to create and maintain an environment that prevents sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse and promotes the implementation of this Policy.
AFRICA ADVENTURE is dedicated to fulfilling the Core Principles through implementation of the following Commitments. This includes time-bound, measurable indicators of progress to enable all entities of AFRICA ADVENTURE, and others, to monitor AFRICA ADVENTURE’s performance.
5.1 Develop organization-specific strategies to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse, including incorporating appropriate job responsibilities (such as staff training, complaints and response mechanisms, and coordinating high-level oversight and progress reports by directors) in specific staff positions to support and ensure effective implementation of organization strategies to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.
5.2 Undertake risk assessments to identify areas of risks and document steps that are being taken to remove or reduce these risks.
5.3 Incorporate AFRICA ADVENTURE’s standards on sexual exploitation and abuse and child protection in relevant codes of conduct and in induction materials and training courses for AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure, including specific provisions for child sexual exploitation and abuse.
5.4 Ensure that when engaging in partnerships, sub-grant or sub-recipient agreements, these agreements
a) incorporate this Policy as an attachment;
b) include the appropriate language requiring such contracting entities and individuals, and their employees and volunteers to abide
with a Code of Conduct that is pursuant to the standards of this Policy; and
c) expressly state that the failure of those entities or individuals, as appropriate, to take preventive measures against sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse, to investigate and report allegations thereof, or to take corrective actions when sexual exploitation or abuse or child abuse has occurred, shall constitute grounds for AFRICA ADVENTURE to terminate such agreements.
5.5 Regularly inform AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure and communities on measures taken to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse. Such information should be developed and disseminated in cooperation with other relevant agencies and should include details on complaint mechanisms, the status and outcome of investigations in general terms, feedback on actions taken against perpetrators, and follow-up measures taken as well as assistance available to complainants and survivors. Any information that is not of a general nature and concerns specific cases must respect confidentiality for all parties involved, including the survivor and family, employee or Members of Africa Adventure, and the ongoing investigation process, particularly where there are legal implications.
5.6 Engage the support of communities and governments to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse by AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure.
5.7 Ensure that complaint mechanisms for reporting sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse are accessible and that AFRICA ADVENTURE focal points for receiving complaints understand how to discharge their duties. This should include a documented reporting procedure in a relevant local language for sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse allegations and policy for non-compliance in, including available sanctions for breaches.
5.8 Provide support and assistance to complainants of sexual exploitation and abuse or child abuse. This may include medical treatment, legal assistance and psychosocial support as appropriate and according to the wants and needs of the survivor whilst also taking account of confidentiality, cultural sensitivities and survivor safety.
5.9 In compliance with applicable laws, prevent perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse from being (re)hired or (re)deployed. Managers and Human Resource teams must ensure robust recruitment screening processes for all personnel, particularly for personnel who will have any direct or indirect contact with children. This could include use of background and criminal reference/ record checks, verbal referee checks, and interview plans that incorporate behavioural-based interview questions.
5.10 Investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse in a timely and professional manner. This includes the use of appropriate interviewing practices with complainants and witnesses, particularly with children. Engage professional investigators or
secure investigative expertise as appropriate.
5.11 Take swift and appropriate action, including legal action when required, against AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure who commit sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse. This may include administrative or disciplinary action, and/or cancellation of membership without compensation and/or referral to the relevant authorities for appropriate action, including criminal prosecution, in the abuser’s country of origin as well as the host country.
5.12 Take appropriate actions to the best of AFRICA ADVENTURE’s abilities to protect persons from retaliation where allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse or child abuse are reported involving AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees or Members of Africa Adventure .
5.13 Ensure high-level oversight and information systems on sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse reports received and actions taken, in order to monitor effectiveness, report progress and improve efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse.
6. AFRICA ADVENTURE and Members of Africa Adventure Standards
AFRICA ADVENTURE's capacity to achieve its vision and mission depends upon the individual and collaborative efforts of all AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and all Members of Africa Adventure. To this end, all AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure must uphold and promote the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct and abide by AFRICA ADVENTURE’s policies.
This policy sets the minimum standards to be followed by all AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure to protect communities from sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse by AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure.
These Standards apply to all AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure and are intended to provide an illustrative guide for employees and Members of Africa Adventure to make decisions that exemplify AFRICA ADVENTURE’s Code of Conduct and core values in their professional and personal lives. Any violation of these Standards is a serious concern and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, in accordance with disciplinary procedures of each AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure .
6.1 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will not request any service or sexual favour in return for protection or assistance, and will not engage in sexually exploitative or abusive relationships.
6.2 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will not exchange money, employment, goods or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour. This prohibition against exchange of money for sex means AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure may not engage the services of sex workers.
6.3 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure are strongly discouraged from having sex or engaging in sexual activities with travellers because there is an inherent conflict of interest and potential for abuse of power in such a relationship. If an employee engages in sex or sexual activities with a traveller, the employee must disclose this conduct to his /her supervisor for appropriate guidance. Failure to report such conduct may lead to disciplinary action pursuant to AFRICA ADVENTURE’s policies and procedures.
6.4 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure must refrain from sexual activity with any person under the age of 18, regardless of the local age of consent, i.e. the local or national laws of the country in which the employee works. Ignorance or mistaken belief of the child’s age is not a defence. Failure to report such a relationship may lead to disciplinary action pursuant to AFRICA ADVENTURE’s policies and procedures.
6.5 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will not support or take part in any form of sexual exploitative or abusive activities, including, for example, child pornography or trafficking of human beings.
6.6 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will treat all children with respect and not use language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate.
6.7 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will not hire children for domestic or other labour which is inappropriate given their age or developmental stage, which interferes with their time available for education and recreational activities or which places them at significant risk of injury.
6.8 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will protect, manage and utilise AFRICA ADVENTURE resources appropriately and will never use AFRICA ADVENTURE resources, including its onlin portals, social media channels or the the use of computers, cameras or mobile phones, to exploit or harass children or others in the communities in which AFRICA ADVENTURE works.
6.9 When photographing or filming a child for work-related purposes, AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will:
- comply with local traditions or restrictions for reproducing personal images,
- obtain informed consent from the parent or guardian of the child, before photographing or filming a child, explaining how the photograph or film will be used,
- ensure photographs, films, videos and DVDs present children in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner,
- ensure children are adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive,
- ensure images are honest representations of the context and the facts, and
- ensure file labels do not reveal identifying information about a child.
6.10 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure must immediately report any concerns or suspicions they have regarding possible violations of this Policy by an AFRICA ADVENTURE Employee or Members of Africa Adventure.
Employees and Members of Africa Adventure must report any such concerns even when the person who may be in violation of this is a third party and not a AFRICA ADVENTURE Employee or Member of Africa Adventure.
Report concerns, suspicions and abuse to our designated compliance officer at PSEA@africa-adventure.net
6.11 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure will prevent, oppose and combat all exploitation and abuse of children.
6.12 Wherever possible, AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure should work with another adult present when working with children.
6.13 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure must immediately disclose charges, convictions and other outcomes of an offence that relates to child exploitation and abuse including those under traditional law.
6.14 Sensitive information related to incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse or child abuse whether involving colleagues, Members of Africa Adventure or others in the communities in which AFRICA ADVENTURE works shall be shared only with enforcement authorities and AFRICA ADVENTURE agents and employees of the appropriate seniority or function who have a need to know such information. Breach of this policy may put others at risk and will therefore result in disciplinary procedures.
6.15 AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure must undertake to create and maintain an environment that promotes implementation of this policy.
6.16 Directors, managers and supervisors at all levels have particular responsibilities to support and develop systems that maintain an environment that facilitates implementation of this policy and which is free of sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse.
7.1. All AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure share an obligation to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and child abuse. It is the responsibility of all AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure to uphold the Core Principles and Commitments of this policy along with the Standards for AFRICA ADVENTURE Employees and Members of Africa Adventure.
7.2. Members of Africa Adventure and Affiliates
AFRICA ADVENTURE Members and Affiliates will ensure this policy is reflected in their own codes of conduct. Members of Africa Adventure and Affiliates must have in place complaints and investigation procedures and employee disciplinary procedures
8. Associated Policies
This policy is complementary to the set of standards of behaviour that all AFRICA ADVENTURE employees and Members of Africa Adventure are required to adhere to in the AFRICA ADVENTURE Code of Conduct or related policies defined by AFRICA ADVENTURE.
This Policy is also a response to AFRICA ADVENTURE’s accountability to the communities it works with and is therefore to be operationalized as part of the broader AFRICA ADVENTURE Accountability Framework.