Meeting Professionals International Commits to Combat Child Sex Trafficking

Signing of The Code to take place via MPI live stream on Global Meetings Industry Day

DALLAS, April 3, 2019 -- Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the world's largest meeting and event industry association, today announced the organization's commitment to combat child sex trafficking through a partnership with ECPAT-USA. As part of a live stream on April 4, 2019, celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), MPI will sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) a travel and tourism industry-driven initiative that seeks to provide awareness, tools, and support to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

A joint venture between the private sector and ECPAT-USA, The Code is a voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent the trafficking of children. As part of the commitment, ECPAT-USA will provide tools that will help MPI raise awareness of the issue and stop child sex trafficking. 

"Meeting and event professionals are in a unique position to raise awareness of and prevent child sex trafficking," said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. "We're excited to see a globally recognized organization like Meeting Professionals International take a leadership role on this issue. Through this partnership with MPI, we will be able to expand the fight to end exploitation to thousands of individuals in over a dozen countries around the world."

The signing of The Code on GMID will be led by CEO and President, Paul Van Deventer, VP of People and Performance, Diane Hawkins and COO, Darren Temple. In 2017, MPI committed to join the fight to stop human trafficking, with a focus on ending the sexual exploitation of children. Over the past 18 months, working closely with organizations such as ECPAT and Sisters of Charity, and by engaging the community through monthly articles in MPI's publications, providing training to volunteer leaders, and offering educational programming, MPI has made a concerted effort to raise awareness of this crime, while also instructing on specific actions to prevent it.

"As a leader in the meetings and events industry, MPI assumes great responsibility to raising awareness about the human sex trafficking epidemic and advocating with our partners to take action against it," said Paul Van Deventer, MPI president, and CEO. "The travel industry is a target for human traffickers and by educating the meetings and events industry about signs to look for, we hope to prevent potential abuse and keep children safe."

GMID brings together leaders from across the meetings and events industry to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows, and exhibitions have on people, businesses and communities.