This #GivingTuesday, You Can Help End Child Trafficking

This year, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, we are proud to join #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and businesses to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities.


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 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are joining forces to match up to $2 million in funds raised for nonprofits in the U.S., including ECPAT-USA.

Donations to ECPAT-USA made through Facebook’s charitable giving tools on November 28 will be matched up to $50,000 or $1,000 per fundraiser or donate button. Facebook is also waiving its fees for donations made this #GivingTuesday to help supporters' contributions go even further. Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide this opportunity until $2 million has been matched for nonprofits nationwide, so ECPAT supporters are encouraged to give early.


How to Get Involved

  • Create a Fundraiser, post or go Live: Visit, click “Raise Money” and select ECPAT-USA for your fundraiser.

  • Post: Write a post and tag ECPAT-USA. You’ll see a prompt to add a donate button after you post.

  • Live: Tap “Live” at the top of your News Feed and click “Add Donate Button” from the menu. Click and Donate: Find ECPAT-USA on Facebook and donate directly to end child trafficking.



What You Will Be Supporting


This matching announcement comes at a critical time in the movement to end child trafficking and exploitation. ECPAT-USA is currently advocating for legislation to prevent the online abuse of children, an alarming and growing problem. We are also educating youth to become leaders on this issue in their own communities and engaging with the travel industry to better recognize and prevent trafficking on the front line.

Your support means that we can advance the fight to address this pressing human rights issue and continue our vital programs—without interruption—to protect our most vulnerable population from this unconscionable crime.




Meet This Year's Freedom Awards Recipients

On November 9, 2017, ECPAT-USA held its first ever Freedom Awards celebration to honor leaders in the fight to end child trafficking. This year's honorees include New York City Police Commissioner, James P. O'Neill; CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monique Villa; and Youth Against Child Trafficking co-presidents, Rumana Khan and Julia Zeng. Each of this year's honorees have taken extraordinary action to end child trafficking, whether through protecting children on the street, spotlighting the issue in the media, or educating young people on the signs of trafficking.


James P. O'Neill

New York City Police Commissioner

Defender Award



James P. O’Neill was appointed the 43rd police commissioner of the City of New York by Mayor Bill de Blasio in September 2016. Commissioner O’Neill has been instrumental in developing the Neighborhood Policing philosophy, which is renewing and recasting the NYPD’s patrol function to provide greater police and community interaction and collaboration. When ECPAT-USA co-created the New York City Community Response to Trafficking Project in 2003,Commissioner O’Neill’s support was instrumental in ensuring a culture of cooperation among the diverse members, including service providers, community groups, the FBI, ICE, US Attorney’s offices, District Attorney’s offices, and the NYPD.

In 2017, Commissioner O’Neill launched a bold new initiative aimed at addressing human trafficking. This included adopting the new, more-effective Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview (FETI) training program, which has been administered to police recruits, school safety agents, principals and hospital staff, and added to the promotional classes for sergeant and lieutenant. His initiative also included the addition of 25 detectives to the Vice Enforcement Division, specifically to investigate trafficking, the placement of crime victims assistance officers in two-thirds of police precincts, and the creation of a 24-hour hotline staffed by specially-trained Special Victims Division investigators, to which people can anonymously report trafficking. Commissioner O’Neill has publicly affirmed that victims, especially youth and children, should not be punished for coerced acts. Keeping with this affirmation, his initiative prioritizes arresting pimps, johns, and traffickers, some of which has been accomplished through increased use of technology to catch individuals responding to prostitution ads. This represents an important shift in law enforcement that addresses the root of the problem: ending demand.


Monique Villa

CEO Thomson Reuters Foundation

Freedom Award



Monique Villa is CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and founder of TrustLaw. Under Villa’s leadership, Thomson Reuters has strengthened its commitment to free and independent journalism, covering issues that mainstream media often overlook, from human rights abuses to endemic corruption.

Since her appointment in 2008, Villa has launched a number of groundbreaking programs that leverage the expertise of Thomson Reuters to trigger change and empower people across the world. In 2010, Villa launched TrustLaw with the goal of increasing the practice of pro bono law worldwide. Villa also launched the Trust Conference to promote the empowerment of women and to fight human trafficking, and Trust Women, a fast-growing movement to empower women and fight slavery worldwide. At their annual conference, Trust Women delegates take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women to know and defend their rights.


Julia Zeng & Rumana Khan

Y-ACT Co-Presidents, Brooklyn Technical High School

Next Gen Award



Julia Zeng and Rumana Khan are seniors at Brooklyn Technical High School. Together, as co-presidents of Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT), they have built their high school's Y-ACT Club to over 50 members, mobilizing students to take action on child trafficking in their community and around the world.


About Y-ACT

Since its inception in 2014, ECPAT-USA’s Y-ACT program has served over 3,000 New York City youth. In 2016 a Brooklyn Technical High School (BTHS) student, with the full support of administration, introduced Y-ACT to her school. Since then, the BTHS Y-ACT leaders have taken action to address the issue of child sex trafficking in a variety of ways. They began by creating their own website based on their own research, featuring information, poetry created by survivors, and articles about youth-led anti-trafficking efforts around the world. The club has organized school-wide assemblies, hosted guest speakers, and participated in global art exhibits to spread awareness of trafficking. As a result of their efforts, the BTHS Y-ACT Club is now a fully self-sustaining club with over 50 members. BTHS Y-ACT members are proud to lend their voices and skills to the international anti-trafficking movement.

INTERPOL Honors ECPAT for Fighting Child Sexual Exploitation

ECPAT, a network of organizations including ECPAT-USA working to tackle the sexual exploitation of children, has been presented with a prestigious award by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) at a ceremony held in Lyon, France today.

The “Crimes Against Children” Award from INTERPOL’s Crimes Against Children team recognizes the more than two decades that ECPAT has worked to prevent child sexual exploitation and advocate for its victims – particularly through programs to confront trafficking for sexual purposes; the exploitation of children through prostitution and pornography; online child sexual exploitation; and the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism sector.

“This award is a recognition of the excellent work done by ECPAT to end the sexual exploitation of children around the world,” said Bjorn Sellstrom, head of INTERPOL’s Crimes Against Children team. “We look forward to continuing our joint efforts with ECPAT to protect the most vulnerable members of society from abuse and further develop awareness of this global issue.”

Accepting the award, Dorothy Rozga, ECPAT’s Executive Director, paid tribute to the organization’s 103 members working in 93 countries. “Through research, advocacy, the provision of direct services to children, awareness raising and campaigning - members of the ECPAT network are making a positive difference to the lives of children. Due to the clandestine nature of child sexual exploitation, reliable data is difficult to come by. Nevertheless, we know that the number of victims is huge and that very often these children suffer in silence.” 

ECPAT-USA Executive Director Carol Smolenski said, "ECPAT is proud to receive this important award from INTERPOL. We work with stakeholders throughout the United States including law enforcement, the private  sector, legislators and policy makers and other NGOs. Last week, ECPAT-USA gave New York Police Department Commissioner James P. O’Neill its annual Defender Award for the big strides that the NYPD has made in protecting exploited children."

Rozga emphasized that over the years ECPAT has learned the importance of involving all stakeholders in addressing the crime of child sexual exploitation. “It is absolutely essential to adopt a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach,” she said. “We work with a wide range of actors, from the private sector - including hotels, Internet and tech companies, travel agents, airlines - to governments, the UN, and other NGOs. This is why we place such a high value on our collaboration with INTERPOL and other law enforcement agencies.”

Previous recipients of the award have included Mads Nielsen, a world leader in victim identification helped to safeguard hundreds of children, and Anders Persson, the father of the INTERPOL International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) image database. 



ECPAT International works with INTERPOL on a range of projects to fight the sexual exploitation of children including by:

  •  Collaborating with the Crimes Against Children regional teams providing support on request
  • Helping INTERPOL to prepare confidential briefings for the Convention on the Rights of the Child – which has helped inform states on emerging issues
  • Serving alongside INTERPOL on a range of advisory boards, one of the most important being the We Protect Global Alliance – which is working worldwide to stop the crime of online child sexual abuse and exploitation.



ECPAT International is a global network of organisations dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children. With 103 members in 93 countries, ECPAT focuses on the trafficking of children for sexual purposes; the exploitation of children through prostitution and pornography; online child sexual exploitation; and the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism sector. The ECPAT International Secretariat is based in Bangkok Thailand.



ECPAT-USA’s mission is to protect every child’s basic human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking. We envision a world in which no child is bought, sold, or used for sex. More than 25 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. Six of the ten largest international hotel chains—including Hilton, Wyndham and Hyatt—have signed on to ECPAT’s program to prevent sex tourism, as have Delta and American Airlines.



INTERPOL’s role is to enable police in our 192 member countries to work together to fight transnational crime and make the world a safer place. We maintain global databases containing police information on criminals and crime, and we provide operational and forensic support, analysis services and training. These policing capabilities are delivered worldwide and support three global programmes: counter-terrorism, cybercrime, and organized and emerging crime.



Five-Year Old and Three-Month Old Rescued from Sex Trafficking

A five-year-old and a three-month-old were recently rescued in Denver as part of the FBI’s Operation Cross Country XI sting against sex traffickers.

The two rescued girls are sisters and the alleged trafficker is a friend of the children’s family. The trafficker communicated with an undercover agent and made a deal to sell the sisters for sex for $600, the FBI said.

In addition to these two girls, the nationwide sweep also rescued more than 80 other underage victims.

The sting used a number of tactics, including finding trafficking victims online.


In once instance, a 16-year-old was rescued after being advertised online for “entertainment,” officials said. When an undercover agent responded to the ad, the girl was with a 21-year-old woman who offered the agent sexual intercourse with both her and the underage victim. The woman and the driver who took the minor and the 21-year-old to the undercover officer’s location were arrested, according to the FBI report.

The average age of victims recovered from this year’s Operation Cross Country is 15, according to the FBI. Sellers tried to pimp them at hotels, truck stops, or online.

The FBI also emphasized that the number of victims rescued in this operation speaks to how many more victims are out there.

"Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work," FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

Hotel brands can combat child sex trafficking at their properties by training their associates on the issue.

Members of the public can combat online sex trafficking by contacting their senators and expressing their support for the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

No Vacancy: How the Meetings and Events Industry Can Help Stop Child Sex Trafficking

Child sex trafficking is a crime that happens across the United States, often in hotel rooms. Something that you might consider is that other businesses, parallel to the hospitality industry, can help protect children—the meeting and events industry is one of them because the meetings industry works with hotels and with companies that book hotels for their employees.

In September, ECPAT-USA released a report, No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers, which shows the extent and impact of our training efforts in hotels. Now we are sharing a series of blogs that will teach you about the issue, highlight stakeholders who can help fight child sex trafficking, and give you ideas from the report for how to get involved. This blog provides information for meeting planning professionals about how they can take action on this issue. The information extends to corporate travel managers (in-house professionals who manage travel for private companies) and travel management companies (entire companies that focus on booking travel for clients).

Meeting planning professionals are uniquely situated between hotels and companies that book travel for their employees. Both of these groups can play a role in ending child sex trafficking, and meetings professionals have the power to persuade them to do so.


What the Meetings Industry Can Do

Professionals in the meetings industry can help persuade both travel suppliers (hotels, airlines, etc.) and corporate travel managers to implement policies and programs to protect children. Hotels must have policies in place that state a zero-tolerance of sex trafficking and train their associates. Travel managers must book hotels that have these standards in place.

Let’s face it, money talks. Meeting planning professionals are in an ideal position to discuss child-protection policies with travel suppliers, such as hotels, because sheer size of contracts with hotels. Over time, the long standing relationships with suppliers also means that they trust you. As meeting professionals you can use this influence to share information about training.

At the panel that launched No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers, survivor and advocate Katrina Owens pointed out that numbers matter when it comes to getting companies and those in power to act on child sex trafficking. The more people that speak out against a harmful practice or advocate for a positive practice, the more likely results are. The meetings industry has great power to effect change on child sex trafficking because, while meetings companies often only have a few employees, you represent many clients, and therefore can send a powerful message to the hospitality industry.

Meeting planning professionals are also well positioned to speak to corporate travel executives about this issue because corporate travel executives look to you to provide information about travel industry trends and risk areas.

One concrete way meeting planning professionals must combat child sex trafficking is by integrating requirements about anti-trafficking policies and training into your RFPs.

By making these requirements part of standard practice, meetings professionals send the message that child sex trafficking is unacceptable and travel companies can act to combat it.  Language in RFPs can educate hotels who may not know about the issue, and persuade those who may be reluctant to institute policies and training to protect children. You can also educate corporate travel managers by discussing the issue when working on RFPs for their travel, and explaining why it is important to include child-safe language in RFPs and contracts with suppliers.

Our partner, Nix Conference & Meeting Management, includes questions about trafficking policies in all of their RFPs. They ask three questions of all potential clients: “Does your property have a policy regarding commercial sexual exploitation of children or child sex trafficking? Are you aware of the ECPAT-USA Code of Conduct? If no, would you be willing to receive additional information from ECPAT-USA regarding The Code of Conduct?” These questions start a conversation about trafficking and what properties can do to protect children.

In addition to integrating language about anti-trafficking training into RFPs, meeting planning professionals can also choose to work with hotels that already have training in place. By prioritizing these hotels, and making this policy known to the hotel industry, meeting planning professionals can send a message that training associates about human trafficking is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.

ECPAT-USA Applauds ITP's Vision for 2030: Sustainable Growth & a Fairer Future For All

This fall, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) launched their Vision for 2030. The Vision for 2030 includes the launch of ITP’s goals, four commitments to work among ITP member companies to address four issues in the hospitality industry: Youth Employment, Carbon, Water, and Human Rights.

The International Tourism Partnership is an international organization that works to bring hotels together to address social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Vision 2030 is designed to be a practically achievable call to action for the entire hospitality industry on four of the main sustainability issues impacting hospitality brands. The initiative’s goals were created with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind, as a way for the industry to make a positive contribution to the SDGs.

ECPAT-USA applauds the International Tourism Partnership for leading the way on these issues and creating a call to action for the tourism industry to lead on sustainability and human rights.

The goals in each area are:

  • YOUTH EMPLOYMENT: Collectively impact one million young people through employability programmes by 2030, thereby doubling the industry’s current impact on youth unemployment.

  • CARBON: Embrace science-based targets, and encourage the wider industry to join in reducing emissions at scale.

  • WATER: Embed water stewardship programmes to reduce the number of people affected by water scarcity; also improve water-use efficiency and identify ways to address water scarcity.

  • HUMAN RIGHTS: Raise awareness of human rights risks, embed human rights into corporate governance, and address risks arising in the labour supply chain and during hotel construction.

With the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), ECPAT-USA works with the tourism industry to integrate training about human trafficking, a human rights issue, into human resources standards. The International Tourism Partnership’s initiative to address human rights, as well as sustainability issues, is a commendable project that shows how the tourism industry can use its power and influence for good.

To learn more about ITP’s Vision for 2030 click here.

To learn more about ECPAT-USA’s work with the hospitality industry, visit

4 Ways to Fight Trafficking this Fall

This fall, join us in the fight to end child trafficking. 

We're sharing 4 ways you can help in the coming days, weeks, and season. Together, we can protect every child's basic human right to grow up free.


1. Join Us for the Freedom Awards

You're invited! Celebrate leaders in the fight to end child trafficking while supporting our vital work to ensure no child is bought or sold. This November 9, we're honoring the CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monique Villa, and New York City Police Commissioner, James P. O'Neill.


2. Fight Trafficking on Your Next Trip

Follow our "No Vacancy" blog series to learn how you can fight trafficking when you travel. Read the latest here.


3. Spread the Word on #AnyKidAnySchool

School age children in the U.S. are at risk for trafficking. View our latest PSA and get involved in your community. Learn more.


4. Join ECPAT-USA for a Film Screening

Join ECPAT-USA this evening at the Brooklyn Public Library for a free screening of "In Our Backyard." Register here.

No Vacancy: What Governments Can Do to Combat Child Sex Trafficking

Child sex trafficking is a problem in every region of the United States. Governments—from as big as the U.S. Government to your own city council—have a duty to protect the children in their communities.

One area where governments can combat child sex trafficking is in the tourism industry.

Last week, ECPAT-USA released a report, No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers, which shows the extent and impact of our training efforts. Over the next few weeks, we will share a series of blogs that will teach you about the issue, highlight stakeholders who can help fight child sex trafficking, and give you ideas from the report for how to get involved. The blog you are reading will give tips for elected officials to get involved..

With the use of online classified ads, child sex trafficking is both on the streets and behind the closed doors of local hotel rooms. Pimps rent rooms in hotels, then go online to create advertisements in adult sexual services pages, and finally sell victims in hotels or have victims meet purchasers at nearby hotels.

Hotel rooms are a preferred venue for the sale of children because traffickers believe they are anonymous at hotels, giving them a sense that there is little risk in their behavior. They also believe that hotels are risk-free because they believe training on indicators of child sex trafficking is not widespread.

There are a number of common sense laws that governments can pass to combat child sex trafficking in the tourism industry. From requiring training in all hotels to passing transparency legislation, legislators can play a unique role in ending this scourge.

While many hotels are already training their associates to combat child sex trafficking– No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers shows that half of all hotels in the United States have had training– governments must ensure there are no training gaps criminals can exploit.


What Governments Can Do

One thing governments must do is pass laws that require hotels to train their associates on child sexual exploitation, with consultation and resources from groups already working on the issue.

Many hotels are proactively training their associates. However, those who exploit children seek out venues where they feel anonymous and will go unnoticed or unreported to the authorities, so it is important that there are no gaps in training. Think about it this way, if one hotel trains and a trafficker leaves a property, the trafficker may go right to the hotel next door to exploit their victims.

Governments must pass laws requiring all hotels to train their associates to recognize and appropriately respond to suspected instances of child sexual exploitation. That being said, laws must consider the work already being done by nonprofits, hotel trade associations, and the hotel industry to address this issue. They must include existing, well crafted resources in the training requirements rather than duplicating existing efforts. Keep in mind, we’ve been working with hotels since 2004 so good resources already exist! We just need hotels to access the resources.

One good example of a law like this is the law Connecticut passed in 2016. Public Act No. 16-17 passed by the Connecticut General Assembly mandates training for all hotel and lodging staff and also requires hotels to keep records of their guests. This Connecticut law was created through collaboration between state agencies, the public sector, and other stakeholders. The implementation of the law also involved a public-private partnership that brought together a number of experts in the area including Marriott International, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and others.

Another thing governments must do is pass transparency legislation that explicitly includes child sexual exploitation language.  Governments outside the United States, most notably in the UK with the Modern Slavery Act, have passed transparency legislation that requires companies to report on their efforts to combat human trafficking, including child labor. The United States introduced similar legislation called the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act. This legislation, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, would require certain businesses to report annually on steps they had taken to address modern slavery and trafficking.

ECPAT-USA works to ensure legislation actually mentions reporting on child sex trafficking, which is often overlooked. Additionally, transparency legislation cannot stop at targeting companies that provide goods (products) but must also require certain companies that provide services, such as hotels, to report.

Transparency laws not only encourage brands to take steps to fight trafficking, they also provide opportunities for sharing information about best practices and collaboration, and give all stakeholders information about where to focus future efforts. A study of the effects of the UK Modern Slavery Act after one year found that the law encouraged internal dialogue about modern slavery issues at companies, including at the director level, and led to a greater focus on policy development, risk assessment, and monitoring of human trafficking.

ECPAT-USA (1).jpg

While collaboration between multiple sectors is key to eradicating child sex trafficking, governments have a unique ability to mandate steps that will address the problem. If governments act, with input from private sector and nonprofit organizations with expertise in this area, we can ensure no child is bought or sold.

To read the full list of recommendations governments must take to combat child sex trafficking, read the full report we released last week. And don’t forget to stay tuned for the rest of our blog series! Next week, we’ll be focusing on how the meetings industry can get involved.

No Vacancy: How Hotels Can Fight Trafficking

From policies to training that matters—hotels can make a difference.

Child sex trafficking is a crime that happens across the United States, often in hotel rooms. While the hospitality industry is not responsible for trafficking, it does have an important role to play in helping to stop it.  

ECPAT-USA recently released a report, No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers, which shows the extent and impact of our training efforts. Over the next few weeks, we will share a series of blogs that will teach you about the issue, highlight stakeholders who can help fight child sex trafficking, and give you ideas from the report for how to get involved. If you work in the hospitality industry, this blog is for you! If not, please share it with your friends and family who can have a direct impact.


With the use of online classified ads, child sex trafficking is not only on the streets, but also behind the closed doors of local hotel rooms. Pimps rent rooms in hotels, then go online to create an ad in adult sexual services pages, and finally sell victims right out of the hotel or have victims meet purchasers at nearby hotels.  

Hotel rooms are a preferred venue for the sale of children because traffickers believe they are anonymous at hotels, giving them a sense that there is little risk in their behavior. They also believe that hotels are risk-free because they believe training on indicators of child sex trafficking is not widespread.

Hotels can help stop child sex trafficking by training their associates. Hotel associates are more likely to witness trafficking than the average person. Training teaches people working in hotels how to identify instances of child sex trafficking and how to safely and effectively address any instances they may see.

Many hotels are implementing training. No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers, shows that half of all hotels in the United States have had training for their associates.

Still, there is more work to be done. While 40% of hotel properties in the United States have access to ECPAT training, not all training is reaching associates on the ground level.


What Hotels Can Do


Adopt policies and procedures related to the sexual exploitation of children and have resources available to properties. Hospitality brands must develop policies that state a zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation of children and develop procedures to respond to suspected instances of such exploitation.

Official policies send a message to associates that putting an end to the commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking is important to the company. Companies must also provide their employees with a protocol (procedure) for responding to any suspicions of exploitation.

One example of a great policy against the sexual exploitation of children is the Hyatt Hotels Corporation Human Rights Statement. In addition to stating a clear repudiation and zero tolerance policy of child sex trafficking, the Hyatt statement also references human rights standards and states their open door policy to encourage associates to report any incidents.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is another excellent example of a hotel brand policy. Their policy clearly states what associates should do if they suspect an instance of child sex trafficking:  “All employees must be vigilant and immediately report to managers, supervisors, the Legal department or the Business Conduct and Ethics Hotline, as appropriate, all situations that come to their attention in the Company’s premises or businesses where sexual exploitation of children is suspected or appears to be intended.”

Whatever a company’s reporting protocol is, it should be clearly stated and easy to find in their anti-trafficking policy.

Hotel brands interested in creating a policy and procedures related to the sexual exploitation of children can contact ECPAT-USA.

Hotels must also mandate that all associates working in all hotel properties, whether they are franchised OR owned, have training.

Hotel brands that offer training for their employees have taken an important step to combat child sexual exploitation, but what does that training do if it is not being used? This issue must become part of on-the-job training.

Employees who are well-trained on the issue will comfortably execute their company’s protocol for responding to the issue. This prevents employees from frantically reacting to situations, which could lead a violent response from an exploiter.

While the data in the report does show that ECPAT-USA training has far reach, the study also found that training does not always reach the front-line of hotels. Some hotel properties whose parent companies have policies and commitments to protect children are not training on the issue. This is an ongoing challenge with hotels that do not mandate but only suggest training to properties in their portfolio.

A staggering 52% of hotel properties in the U.S. are franchised, rather than owned and operated by hotel brands themselves, which means the brand is more hands-off. But for this issue, things need to be different! Training must be required at franchised properties.

To date, a number of brands have moved towards requiring instead of suggesting training to properties and other brands must follow. Marriott mandates human trafficking training for all associates in all of their properties, including franchisees. Similarly, as a brand standard, Hyatt International mandates that all hotels take human trafficking training but does not specify which training franchised hotels participate in.

In addition to being the right thing to do, taking these steps can protect hotels from legal, financial, or image problems should an instance of child sex trafficking occur at one of their properties.

To learn all of the steps hotels must take, or for more information, visit