Children's rights

When parents and family members work on cruise ships, the social costs to children can be high. These important people in the children’s lives can be away for several months at a time, often with limited opportunity for contact.

Lengthy and repeated absence of a parent can put great strains on families. Children grow up without much contact to one or both of their parents and long for parental care. As a consequence of these absences, (mostly) girl children have to take over the “caring” work in the family.  Children without parents are also more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. After several months of working at sea, readjusting to family life often takes time for cruise staff as they are exhausted and stressed from the busy cruise routine and living conditions.

A UNICEF study published in 2008 focused on Filipinos who leave their country to work as contract workers overseas. The impact of such migration varies - ranging from positive effects such as economic benefits not only for the family but the country in general through remittances, to negative impacts on the security and well-being of the families of migrant workers. Major concerns are the high social costs of migration and the major negative impact on children left behind.

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Take action

Policy and process

  • Include a specific clause on migrant workers’ protection including their families in the company’s (Supplier) Code of Conduct.

Sector collaboration

  • Address this issue with other businesses from the tourism sector and seek to find solutions to mitigate the negative impact on children of parents working on cruises.

Impact assessment

  • When conducting human rights impact assessments highlight the potential impact on children of parents working on cruises.

Find more information on potential measures to take on the "take action" site. 

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.