An American Airlines ticketing agent made headlines this week when her gut instinct and quick thinking kept two underaged girls from entering into an unsafe and potentially child trafficking situation.
In honor of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, ECPAT-USA is proud to announce American Airlines as the latest member of the travel and tourism industry to sign ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). An industry-driven responsible tourism initiative, The Code provides awareness, tools and support to the industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
"The work that ECPAT does is incredibly important,” said Robert Isom, President of American Airlines. “We have half a million customers a day and our flight attendants, our pilots, [and] our agents can be real guardians and lines of defense against human trafficking and child exploitation."
Victims of trafficking are often transported via air travel to different cities and countries. As such, airline and airport employees are in a unique position to identify and prevent instances of sexual exploitation. As a member of The Code, American Airlines will implement the following six criteria, several of which are already in place at the airline, in order to end child sex trafficking:
1. Establish a corporate policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children
2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases
3. Include a clause in further partner contracts stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children
4. Provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases
5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children
6. Report annually on the company’s implementation of Code-related activities
“We have been on a decades long campaign to ensure that no child is bought, sold, or used for sex," said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. "Today, on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, we celebrate the latest and biggest success to reach our goal: the signing by American Airlines of the Code of Conduct. One of the ways we will end the sexual exploitation of children is through the commitment of far-sighted leaders like Robert Isom, President of American Airlines. American Airlines joins a family of inspiring companies making a far-reaching change to corporate culture in order to protect all our children."
ECPAT-USA is the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of the ECPAT International network, with offices in 93 countries. For more information, visit ecpatusa.org/code.
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 more than 1,000 destinations with about 14,250 daily flights to over 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 Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines.
Gallery and Cover Photo: American Airlines
ECPAT-USA is proud to announce that American Airlines is taking a major step in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation by committing to sign ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). The Code is an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
Delta Air Lines is a long-time member of the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct. But this week, in Atlanta, the company kicked off a new round of awareness and action to protect both adult and child trafficking victims. Read more from Delta here. There is now a company-wide anti-human trafficking steering committee with representatives from all the divisions.
Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, gave a moving opening statement about the commitment of his company. He called it a movement, not a cause, and spoke passionately about the need for companies like his to do their part.
He is so right. Training of airline employees is crucial. As I was greeting Delta employees who were filing into the giant gathering room, within 5 minutes two people told me they had identified and reported cases of potential child trafficking. Two employees in five minutes! Every U.S. airline should be considering the same steps. Who knows how many more children would be saved.
As Director of ECPAT-USA I presented Ed with a Partner in Protection Plaque to thank the company for supporting our working. We can’t do our child protection work unless we have support from the private sector, government, and individuals. Over 700 Delta employees were there, to learn that trafficking exists, to learn how to look for it, and get mobilized. It was a truly inspiring event.