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After the first World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in 1996, ECPAT Sweden developed The Code in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and several Swedish tour operators.
The Code was then spread worldwide through partnerships with the ECPAT network, UNWTO and UNICEF. Since 2004, The Code has operated as an independent non-profit organization.
Today, it is a global multi-stakeholder organization based in Thailand, with high-level leadership coming from both the tourism industry and civil society. Expansion and impact in many countries is driven by partnerships with passionate local non-governmental organizations, which we call Local Code Representatives.
Operations are funded primarily through grants from governments and foundations. Current funders are the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Part of the operational cost of The Code is funded through membership fees paid by the tourism companies themselves.
The Code is now the leading responsible tourism initiative for the tourism industry to integrate child protection into its work.