This #GivingTuesday, be a champion for children

This year, on Tuesday, November 27, 2018, we are proud to join #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back that follows Thanksgiving and the major shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The holiday is dedicated to harnessing the collective power of individuals, communities, and businesses to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.


For this special day of giving, we are calling on our strongest supporters to partner with us in ending child trafficking in New York City and across the country. To celebrate and encourage generosity nationwide, Facebook and PayPal are joining forces to match up to $7 million in funds raised for nonprofits in the U.S., including ECPAT-USA.


How to Get Involved

  • Make an individual donation by clicking here.

  • Create your own Facebook fundraiser to share with your network by clicking here.

    • In just three steps, you can encourage others to support our work to end child sex trafficking by creating your own Facebook fundraiser.

    • We will be giving away thank you gifts to the first ten individuals who are able to raise $500 through their personal Facebook fundraisers for ECPAT-USA.


What You Will Be Supporting

Your support on November 27th and every day helps ECPAT-USA work toward a world where no child is bought, sold or used for sex through developing groundbreaking research reports, empowering students to be leaders in their own communities, and creating tools that are training millions of employees in how to identify and respond to instances of exploitation.



Global Business Travel Association Highlights ECPAT-USA’s Work Preventing Child Sex Trafficking

At this year’s annual convention, our partner Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) put the issue of child sex trafficking front and center. In addition to a convention-wide presentation about the exploitation of children, GBTA and American Airlines sponsored an Awareness 5k Run and Walk that helped raise $20,000 in support of ECPAT-USA’s work. Recently, Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement, sat down with GBTA to discuss the impact of their efforts and how the travel industry as a whole can help put an end to child sex trafficking on their podcast The Business of Travel.

“The spotlight shone on the issue is something that you can’t even measure,” said Guelbart. “I had people sending me messages on LinkedIn and on email saying that we’ll never travel and look at the world the same way after seeing the presentation on the main stage. That’s incredible.”

The interview also touched on ECPAT-USA’s campaign in support of the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which GBTA joined previously by adding their name to a corporate sign-on letter urging Congress to pass the bill.

“There’s so much to be said about raising awareness of this issue,” Guelbart said. “I haven’t had a point yet where I’ve walked into a room or done an event where there wasn’t one person who said they’ve never heard about this before. You might believe that you’re talking about it enough because you talk about it once a year, but that really isn’t enough.”

Listen to the full episode below, and learn more about our partnerships with travel and tourism industry here.

ECPAT-USA Director Of Private Sector Engagement Selected As Advisor To US Department Of Transportation

ECPAT-USA is pleased to announce that Michelle Guelbart, our Director of Private Sector Engagement, has been appointed to the Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Guelbart is one of 15 individuals to serve on the committee.

As a member, Guelbart will provide information, advice, and recommendations to the DOT on matters relating to human trafficking. The ACHT will also develop recommended best practices to combat human trafficking for states and stakeholders in the transportation industry.

“I am honored to be selected to the Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, and I look forward to working closely with other members and the Department of Transportation on initiatives to end child trafficking in the U.S.,” said Guelbart. “It is encouraging to see awareness of this issue being elevated to a national level, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to represent the voice of ECPAT-USA in this conversation.”

Are The Links Between Foster Care And Trafficking A Fixed Reality?

Foster care is sometimes unavoidable. But in cases where there is an option for children to stay with their families, that may be the better choice. Foster care, argues author Christian O’Neill in his new paper, “From Foster Care to Trafficking: An Analysis of Contributing Factors,” can make children more vulnerable to sex traffickers.

“The question it seems everyone wants to ask is: How can we better safeguard children in foster care from villainous traffickers.” he writes.

“Perhaps instead we should be asking, What if we redirected the majority of our efforts away from out-of-home care and toward preventive, family-preservation services? Because the reality is that most parents charged with neglect do not desire to hurt their children; they may be desperate and stressed, but they are rarely malicious. Child traffickers, however, are.”

Previous research (though not enough) shows that involvement in the child welfare system makes children more vulnerable to exploitation. A report published by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 estimated that 85% of commercially sexually exploited girls had a history with the child welfare system. In 2013, the FBI reported that 60% of children recovered from commercial sexual exploitation had been a part of out-of- family care in some capacity.

O’Neill, who was a child welfare worker for more than two decades, saw first-hand how the system not only failed at times to secure children from trauma, but also inflicted its own emotional and mental wounds. Being separated from their parents is a heartbreaking process for children. It can be traumatizing for them to be removed from their homes and familiar environment and assigned to live with strangers. Sometimes there is no viable parent. But in other cases a decision to separate children from their families is based on a vague finding of “neglect,” a broad and subjective category that allows race- and class-based biases to influence the decision to remove a child from their home. Then the instability of the foster care system itself, which can lead to multiple placements, means minors can grow up without the security and care they need. The resulting psychological and emotional vulnerabilities are exploited by traffickers.

The process of being frequently uprooted can disrupt kids’ academic and social progress, leaving them with few job skills. As the opioid crisis has put more pressure on families, the child welfare system in some states has been overwhelmed, and foster children have fallen through the cracks.

Often feeling like the system strips them of their agency, many foster children run away from placement. Case workers are sometimes unmotivated to search for runaway foster children due to a lack of resources and the assumption that they don’t want to be found anyway. Children become homeless, a key risk factor for trafficking. And knowing caseworkers aren’t actively searching for these children only emboldens traffickers.

Finally, O’Neill says there is a pernicious financial link between foster care and trafficking. The financial support that foster parents receive from the government to care for children can leave foster children feeling objectified and monetized. Being “monetized” by a trafficker may feel not much different. One survivor of sexual exploitation, Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew, who is quoted in O’Neill’s paper, testified that youth’s experience in the foster care system normalizes “being used as an object of financial gain by people who are supposed to care for us…

“Therefore,” she said, “when youth are approached by traffickers...they don’t see much difference between their purpose of bringing finances into their foster home and bringing money to traffickers.”

O’Neill urges rethinking child welfare policies to increase and reallocate resources from out-of-home care to family-preservation services. Such a shift, he believes, could help strengthen families and build children’s defenses against trafficking. And see his insightful recommendations for the many individuals who have roles within the child welfare institution, including caseworkers, clinicians, communities and policy makers.

American Airlines, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Viacom Co-Sponsor Day of the Girl Fundraiser for ECPAT-USA


ABC’s Juju Chang to M.C.

 For tickets and information, visit ECPAT-USA’s  Day of the Girl  event site.

For tickets and information, visit ECPAT-USA’s Day of the Girl event site.

New York City (October 3, 2018) — American Airlines, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and Viacom are co-sponsoring a fundraising event to support ECPAT-USA, the country’s leader in fighting child sex trafficking on October 10, the evening before the U.N’s International Day of the Girl. ECPAT-USA will gather advocates, change makers, and special guests to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, in particular trafficking and exploitation, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. ABC-TVs Juju Chang of ABC News Nightline Co-Anchor will be the master of ceremonies for the event.

“Children across the United States continue to be bought, sold, and used for sex. While ECPAT-USA works to protect all children from commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, this event underscores the urgency of our work today in ending violence against girls and the barriers that keep them from reaching their full potential,” said Carol Smolenski, ECPAT-USA Executive Director.

“American Airlines and our 130,000 team members around the globe are committed to supporting the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation,” said Alison Taylor, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Distribution. “We have a unique role to play in this effort. Every day, we transport more than half a million passengers. With the training program in place for our team members, we are in the fight against this terrible practice. We conduct our business in a manner that protects human rights and the rights of children within our sphere of influence.”

“Our parent company, Carlson Companies, and CWT, have a long history of commitment to the cause that dates back to 1999,” said Brian Mogler, senior vice president, global supplier management, at Carlson Wagonlit Travel. “At CWT, we’ve established an anti-human trafficking task force composed of colleagues from all regions and functions and have trained employees so they can better understand and recognize the issue. We’ve sent over half a million travel alerts on electronic tickets issued in the US to destinations where child sex tourism is prevalent. We know that more work needs to be done. With our partners at ECPAT and other organizations already in the battlefield, we are committed to the long term fight to end human trafficking and any and all forms of child exploitation and abuse.”

“We are proud to host this event in support of ECPAT-USA and its leadership in the fight to eradicate the commercial exploitation of young women and children,” said Lori Nicholson, Head of Global Business Services, Viacom.  “Sex trafficking has absolutely no place in our society.” 

“ECPAT-USA has been working closely with our partners in the travel industry to educate their employees, who are best placed to identify and stop sex trafficking. We are grateful that American Airlines, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Viacom are now supporting us by sponsoring this event and helping us continue and expand our work,” Smolenski said.

The gala event will be held October 10 at 6 pm at Viacom, 1515 Broadway, New York. More information about the event and sponsorship opportunities can be found at ECPAT-USA’s event site.

The ECPAT-USA event is being held in advance of the official UN holiday, International Day of the Girl on October 11.



More than twenty-five years ago, ECPAT-USA became the first U.S.-based nonprofit to work on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT-USA started with sex tourism, helping to get legislation passed that ensured that Americans who traveled abroad to buy sex with minors could be prosecuted in the US for sexually exploiting children in other countries. 

As the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children, ECPAT-USA focuses on awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of ECPAT International, a network of organizations in more than 93 countries with one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children around the world. For more information, visit


About Juju Chang

Juju Chang is an Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline.” She also reports regularly for “Good Morning America” and “20/20.” Chang was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement award at the 2017 Front Page Awards for her in-depth personal narratives and investigative reporting set against the backdrop of pressing national and international news. She has also reported extensively on human trafficking in the US and around the world, including child sex trafficking in America.  View Juju Chang's full biography.


About American Airlines Group

American Airlines and American Eagle offer an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American has hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. American is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, whose members serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. In 2015, its stock joined the S&P 500 index. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at


About Carlson Wagonlit Travel 

Companies and governments rely on us to keep their people connected. We provide their travelers with a consumer-grade travel experience, combining innovative technology with our vast experience. Every day, we look after enough travelers to fill more than 260 Boeing 787s and 100,000 hotel rooms - and handle 105 events. We operate in around 150 countries, and in 2017 posted a total transaction volume of more than US$ 23 billion.

Please follow us on Twitter @CarlsonWagonlit and Linkedin.

About Viacom

Viacom is home to premier global media brands that create compelling entertainment content - including television programs, motion pictures, short-form content, games, consumer products, podcasts, live events and social media experiences - for audiences in 183 countries. Viacom's media networks, including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, VH1, TV Land, CMT, Logo, Channel 5 (UK), Telefe (Argentina), Colors (India) and Paramount Channel, reach approximately 4.3 billion cumulative television subscribers worldwide. Paramount Pictures is a major global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment. Paramount Television develops, finances and produces original programming for television and digital platforms.

For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit Keep up with Viacom news by following Viacom's blog at and Twitter feed at

ECPAT-USA Director Of Private Sector Engagement Honored For Work In Social Responsibility

Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement has been named to BizBash’s list of the Top 500 People in Events in the Sustainability and Social Responsibility category. According to the publication, the list is meant to recognize the best of the meeting and event industry across North America and includes people who lead the largest trade and consumer shows, orchestrate global brand campaigns, and plan high-visibility cultural events that have everyone talking on social media.

“I am surprised and honored to be mentioned in a list with so many amazing leaders in the events industry,” said Guelbart. “It is a privilege spreading ECPAT-USA’s message to the private sector and help build upon the global movement to end child trafficking.”

 Guelbart, left, at the AccorHotels signing of The Code.

Guelbart, left, at the AccorHotels signing of The Code.

For over 14 years, ECPAT-USA has worked with the hotel and tourism industry to combat the sexual exploitation of children. As the Director of Private Sector Engagement, Guelbart has been instrumental to increasing the industry’s awareness of the issue and advising companies in the implementation of policies to identify and prevent child sex trafficking. Under her guidance and leadership, real steps have been taken to better protect children around the world.

ECPAT-USA congratulates Michelle on this recognition!

22 US Business and Trade Associations join ECPAT-USA to Urge Congress to Pass Major Trafficking Bill

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, originally passed in the year 2000, is the United States' groundbreaking legislation to end human trafficking and provides much-needed assistance to human trafficking victims.

The proposed reauthorization, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, and complimentary Senate bills, emphasize a victim-focused approach to combating human trafficking, while also strengthening restitution to survivors. Critically, a number of new provisions concerning endangered children were also added to the legislation.

Virtually every law enforcement initiative, effort to assist victims or policy to combat child trafficking around the globe stems from this lynchpin of federal policy.

“The reauthorization of this law is vital for our national effort to end human trafficking at home and around the world. We are very proud of the partnerships we’ve built with the business community, and are very grateful to them for lending their voices in support of this bipartisan legislative initiative,” said Jason Matthews, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, ECPAT-USA.

American industries continue to make notable progress in the fight against human trafficking by adopting corporate policies, instituting training, and providing own insights into the best practices to exploitation. Many companies have partnered with ECPAT-USA to develop policies and programs designed to prevent the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.

“No single group can combat human trafficking on its own, which is why ECPAT-USA partners with both the private sector and governments to comprehensively address the issue,” said Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement. “We proudly stand together with our corporate partners and urge Speaker Ryan to pass this bill.”

The 22 companies and associations that signed on to the letter are as follows:

Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)

American Airlines

Association of Corporate Travel Executive (ACTE)

Cadence Travel

Carlson Wagonlit Travel

CI Azumano

CorpTrav Management Group

EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)

HRS Global Hotel Solutions

IGLTA Foundation

International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)

International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

Koncept Events

Lannan Legal PLLC

Maritz Travel Company

Milligan Events

Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Real Hospitality Group

Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE)

Uber Technologies Inc.

Vision Hospitality Group

For a copy of the letter, which was sent to Speaker Paul Ryan click here.

A Tribute to Joan Levy

ECPAT-USA sadly acknowledges the passing of Joan Levy, a long-time friend, board member and Representative to the UN Department of Public Information.  Joan was an active member of the ECPAT-USA board for more than twelve years. She was a regular presence at ECPAT-USA events, very often pitching in to support our work with good humor and a willingness to do whatever needed to get done.  She was an ideal representative at the UN for ECPAT-USA. Thanks to her commitment to protecting exploited children, her knowledge about UN systems and the respect she gained from staff at the UN Department of Information she always had the answers that a small NGO needed to navigate the organization.  Joan brought good humor, a positive attitude, strengthen and grace to the work she did for ECPAT-USA. She had a powerful concern for human rights and for protecting children from sexual exploitation. She will be very much missed.

Joan’s family has requested that the above post include a link to make a donation to ECPAT-USA in honor of her legacy of advocacy and generosity. You can give to our programs here.