In today’s world, child sex trafficking typically occurs off the streets, behind closed doors. Traffickers seek out vulnerable children who succumb to promises of love and support. These traffickers then place ads for the children in online classified ads. Victims live inside hotels, rarely leaving and often only to meet at other hotels, where they must engage in sex acts with buyers.
Because standard training does not address this issue, victims often go unnoticed and traffickers believe the travel industry is a risk-free, anonymous atmosphere for the sale of children. In some cases, children are transported around the country by airline, train, and bus, under the noses of unsuspecting travel industry personnel.
ECPAT-USA works with companies in the travel industry to implement programs and educate staff so that they can help identify victims and perpetrators and react appropriately.
ECPAT-USA encourages these companies to:
The Code is an internationally recognized set of guidelines travel and tourism companies can sign to demonstrate their commitment to fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT-USA creates individualized action plans for companies to address the issue in a way that fits their corporate structure and culture.
ECPAT-USA partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Educational Institute to co-launch an e-learning module on the issue.
ECPAT-USA creates custom training courses for all types of industries. Staff can learn to identify possible victims as well as the proper procedure for responding to suspicious activity.
Official policies send a zero-tolerance message to staff letting them know that they should not look away if they suspect trafficking. Staff will feel more empowered to react to their suspicions. The policy will also build a sense of pride in their company for being responsible. A sample policy is available.
To learn more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.