In many countries where Migros buys or Kuoni sends its tourists, human rights are valid only on paper. In sweat shops women, men and adolescents work until they collapse and are often kept like prisoners. Or children and young men and women are sold to sex tourists – including Swiss. How can a company protect itself from being associated with such practices? How can it be sure not to do business with such suppliers and hotels which crush human rights underfoot?
In both companies, at Migros as well as Kuoni I was very much involved in the development of a so-called code of conduct. The pioneer Migros regulated with its code of conduct the working conditions with which suppliers have to comply – first in the non-food and later in the food sector: Prohibition of abusive child labor, or regulations on minimum wages, freedom of association and anti-discrimination. This Code of Conduct was adopted by the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and is used by many European companies. At Kuoni the Code of Conduct governs inter alia respect for human rights. This means that all contracted hotels working with Kuoni declare that they outlaw child sex tourism and fight it with all means available.
The BSCI Code of Conduct is now based explicitly on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and other international regulations. It is widely used globally. Also, the fight against child sex tourism has become socially acceptable and even Kuoni to ist merit exposes itself in this battle.