ECPAT-USA Celebrates The Power of Girls In Annual CSW Panel

Alongside this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), ECPAT-USA presented a panel showcasing how girls can be empowered to become leaders and advocates against trafficking in their communities. Featuring Survivor Advocate Barbara Amaya and Youth leaders Kelly Fang and Ria Gaur, the event discussed what makes girls susceptible to traffickers and how we can combat these tactics by encouraging young girls to be confident and bold, to stand up for themselves and for those around them, and to participate in making sure that women are girls can live in a world free from the threat of sexual violence.

“Trafficking isn’t just a women’s problem,” Ria said, noting the importance of including boys in conversations about recognizing and preventing trafficking.

Through ECPAT-USA's Y-ACT Youth Program, students are empowered to be the foremost advocates in their communities through education. Click here to learn more about the program.

Photos by Carla Licavoli Photography

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

Announcement: Day of the Girl Celebration!


ECPAT-USA is proud to announce its upcoming fall fundraising event in recognition and support of the global movement to better girls’ lives and empower them to reach their full potential.

By championing their rights and protecting them from harm, we can support girls' opportunities to realize their goals, and in doing so create a better and more equitable world. 

Join us in shining a spotlight on girls' rights this October 10!



Presented by American Airlines, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and Viacom


ECPAT-USA's Carol Smolenski Joins Nasdaq for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

Executive Director Carol Smolenski joined Nasdaq's Global Head of Sustainability, Evan Harvey, in conversation on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The day of awareness and action, created by the United Nations in 2013, serves to highlight the problem of human trafficking while calling for a coordinated and consistent effort to end the scourge in all its forms. 

The Nasdaq Live conversation touched on child trafficking prevention, the UN's Agenda for Sustainable Development, corporate social responsibility, and more. Click below to view the full conversation.

Men: A Call to Action

Men: A Call to Action

Child sexual exploitation is a profound challenge to our society and to countries around the globe. Given the scale and persistence of the problem, it is an issue that requires all parts of our community to contribute to the solution. And we are fortunate to live an era that recognizes the horrors of modern slavery and has taken initial steps to address it. However, there is one element of society that can have a disproportionate impact in bringing child sexual exploitation to an end, and that is men.

ECPAT-USA Highlights Work With Travel Sector At Congressional Briefing

Photo: Helsinki Commission

Photo: Helsinki Commission

On May 7th, ECPAT-USA had the honor of being invited to speak at a joint congressional briefing entitled "Fighting Human Trafficking in Travel and Tourism: New Challenges and Solutions." The event was sponsored by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, and the Congressional Trafficking Caucus.

For over 13 years, we have worked with the travel and tourism industries to help better protect children from exploitation. Through giving members of these industries the tools to identify and respond to situations of suspected child sex trafficking, we are better able to keep kids safe at hotels and airports. Together, we can stop trafficking in its tracks.

Read Executive Director Carol Smolenski’s full comments from the briefing below, or watch the livestream of the event.

Twenty-seven years ago, ECPAT began advocating for the protection of children from exploitation in the context of travel and tourism—a time when no one was talking about it. I am proud to say that we’ve seen tremendous progress since then.

Our first success was in 1994, when we worked to pass extra-territoriality laws that ensure US citizens traveling abroad and sexually abusing children in their destinations can be prosecuted in the United States. The law was significantly strengthened in 2003. This month, a Florida man, named David Lynch, was sentenced to 330 years in prison under these laws for exploiting several children in the Philippines.

The other big success has been the expansion of the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct. The Code was created by ECPAT in 1998 and introduced in North America in 2004. The Code is six voluntary steps that companies take to protect children from sexual exploitation. We launched The Code along side Carlson Companies. It took several years for other companies to follow suit but we are pleased that in 2011 Wyndham and Hilton both signed the Code.

Today, every large U.S. hotel chain has signed The Code: Besides the three mentioned above the others are Marriott, Choice, and Hyatt. These are six out of the 10 largest hotel chains in the world. Two of the largest domestic air carriers, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have also signed The Code.

One of the most important steps of The Code is staff training. Let me tell you a story about Benjamin, a hotel security director from Massachusetts. His hotel is so well trained that the minute a trafficker entered his property, they implemented their protocol, and his whole team knew what to do.  Raymond, the head of an international trafficking ring, who was later found to have sold children at 400 hotels before getting to Massachusetts, tried his luck at Ben’s hotel but he was stopped in his tracks. He brought two children to Ben’s hotel but instead of being abused, they were identified. And instead of Raymond walking free, he was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Spreading the word to hotel associates is crucial. In 2016, ECPAT-USA partnered with Marriott to expand online human trafficking training for their associates. The training is available through the American Hotel and Lodging Association and used by hotel brands across the industry. Marriott-branded hotels trained over 335,000 associates within 15 months of requiring the training. Imagine if all US hotel brands required training.

According to a 2017 nationwide survey of hotels initiated by ECPAT-USA and carried out by New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, over half of U.S. hotels are trained to help prevent child sex trafficking. This is a tremendous development. ECPAT-USA’s full report about the impact of our work with the US hotel industry, “No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers,” is on our website.

While we have come so far, there is still a long way to go. In 2016, ECPAT published the results of a two-year Global Study on the Exploitation of Children in the Context of Travel and Tourism. The study’s 47 recommendations set the stage for the next phase of our work.

I am sharing copies of the executive summary and recommendations with you. One of the important recommendations calls for all businesses to ensure that corporate travel takes place with travel companies that adopt child protection policies, train and join ECPAT’s Code of Conduct. We are delighted about the new provisions introduced as part of the TVPRA by Congressman Smith, which call for U.S. federal employees to travel with companies incorporating anti-trafficking policies and training.

In addition, we are developing a new training for companies that manage corporate travel and events, supported by Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Maritz Travel, that will bring this information to travel managers at companies across the entire private sector, not just the travel industry. These efforts will save lives.

We met Jenny, a travel manager for a finance company who went to a client convention in Mexico hosted by Maritz Travel. There was an awareness session about human trafficking because business travelers may spot human trafficking in their travels. Jenny attended the session and at the airport on the way home she saw a woman with a plastic bag as luggage, she was disheveled— indicators from her session the day before— and something about the situation didn’t sit right with Jenny so she reported her suspicions. And she was right—the girl she saw was a human trafficking victim and she was rescued because of Jenny.

Of course, the sexual exploitation of children happens outside of the travel and tourism context. One of the fastest growing areas children are exploited is through the production of child sexual abuse imagery (commonly called child pornography). Most people are not aware of A. The vast extent of this problem: The Cyber Tipline received over 10.2 million reports in 2017. B. The young age of the children: The Internet Watch Foundation reported that 55% of the images were children 10 years or younger.  And C. The violence depicted. Content showing the rape and sexual torture of children, is up this year by 5%, from 28% of all content to 33%.

Soon, ECPAT-USA will issue a report with recommendations that include stronger background checks for anyone who comes in contact with children and more oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which registers website names, among others. It is a complex and growing industry that needs a range of responses including government regulations and oversight.

As we talk about our legislative priorities, let me thank all of the offices here on the House side that were involved in the successful passage of FOSTA-SESTA legislation. It was a hard won victory, and we appreciate your offices leading the charge in spite of opposition from the tech industry.   

On May 7th, ECPAT-USA had the honor of being invited to speak at a joint congressional briefing sponsored by Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, and the Congressional Trafficking Caucus entitled "Fighting Human Trafficking in Travel and Tourism: New Challenges and Solutions."

For over 13 years, we have worked with the travel and tourism industries to help better protect children from exploitation. Through giving members of these industries the tools to identify and respond to situations of suspected child sex trafficking, we are better able to keep kids safe at hotels and airports. Together, we can stop trafficking in its tracks.

ECPAT-USA Panel Highlights The Power Of Youth Advocacy At CSW

ECPAT-USA Panel Highlights The Power Of Youth Advocacy At CSW

Alongside this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), ECPAT-USA presented a panel detailing how youth are using technology to empower their peers and raise awareness of child sex trafficking. The event, featuring Survivor-Advocate Shanifa Bennett and Brooklyn Technical High School students Nasrat Jahan and Rumana Khan, highlighted how important it is for students to take precautions online and for adults to talk to kids about the potential risks.

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.

Third Annual Concert for Freedom a Resounding Success!

ConcertForFreedom_V7 (2).png

This summer, Ariana and Emma McGinn returned to the stage at The Bitter End, bringing together music, friends, and special guests to support ECPAT-USA's mission to end child trafficking. The McGinn family's third ever Concert for Freedom was a resounding success, raising significant funds to power ECPAT-USA's work to end child slavery at the source.

In recognition and gratitude of the family's contributions to ECPAT-USA and the cause to end child trafficking, Executive Director Carol Smolenski awarded the family a Certificate of Commendation for their extraordinary work. 

We can't thank the McGinn family enough—Ariana, Emma, Tom, and Lata— for their incredible support in helping to create a world where no child is bought or sold.

Wonder Women—The Women's Group of the Greens

While I have yet to watch the summer blockbuster, Wonder Woman, I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of wonder women on July 14, 2017. Armed with a passion for education, dedication to children’s rights, and commitment to justice, The Women’s Group of the Greens stood against child slavery by supporting Y-ACT.

Just like the warriors of Themyscira, The Women’s Group of the Greens is a community of empowering women that have continuously devoted themselves to the welfare of communities and philanthropy. When Janai Smith, the Outreach Manager of ECPAT invited me to talk about my Y-ACT experience, I was not sure what to expect. The excited conversations between friends and a fuzzy warmth courtesy of the genuine exchange of “hellos” and “how are yous”, vanquished my nerves.

Being a proud and lucky graduate of an all women’s high school, I know what sisterhood and community look like, and the Women of the Greens definitely epitomized girl power.  I discussed how the Y-ACT program aims to educate young people and provide them the information and skills they need to become effective advocates in their communities. The women listened with rapt attention as I proceeded to explain how Y-ACT debunks myths that often surround human trafficking, while also giving teens the tools they need to ensure their safety in both the real and virtual world. Their commitment to ECPAT’s mission, specifically the Y-ACT program was evident, as members asked insightful questions and brainstormed ways to expand youth awareness, engagement, and leadership.

Surrounded by Wonder Woman themed centerpieces, I realized that despite the amazing reviews the film has gotten, I doubt that the movie experience will come close to the memorable opportunity of being surrounded by real-life wonder women. The help of The Women’s Group of the Greens will enable ECPAT to continue fostering awareness and leadership, as we aspire to educate, train, and support more young superheroes.