Business Events Industry

September Business Events Champion - Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX Group

Each month, ECPAT-USA will be highlighting a Business Events Champion who, in support of our 20BY20 campaign, has pledged to join with us in ending child sexual exploitation and trafficking through educating and empowering business events professionals.

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Carina Bauer is the CEO of the IMEX Group, one of the foremost organizations connecting the global meetings industry. Recognized around the world for her exceptional leadership in business events, she serves as a Mentor Fast Forward 15 for women in hospitality and events, was the winner of the Smart Women in Meetings Award in both 2018 and 2019, and named as one of Northstar’s 25 Most Influential People in the Incentive Industry. As one of the founding champions of the 20BY20 campaign, ECPAT-USA was interested in speaking with Carina about her thoughts on why being involved with this initiative was so important. 

With so many important causes where the business events industry can make a difference, what about this issue speaks to you, personally?

I think this is one of those defining moments when we can either turn away and rationalize “I’m too busy” or “I don’t see how I can make a difference here” OR we can step up and speak up. As a mother and the leader of a British company that aims to lead by example, I’m happy to lend my support. IMEX is in a unique position. We operate in a truly global marketplace. We have a voice. We have a global audience that’s willing to listen, and to learn. This is the time to put that advantage to good use.

 Why did IMEX choose to be a Champion of the ECPAT-USA 20BY20 initiative? 

The global business events industry, as a sector that brings together people from all over the world, has a responsibility to drive positive social transformation and ECPAT-USA 20BY20 helps to deliver this. Like many of the big societal challenges of our times, this isn’t about one person, one government or even one company taking a stand but about recognizing and embracing our collective accountability and knowing that lasting change demands lasting and consistent collaboration.  

 What is IMEX doing to promote your support of 20BY20?  

Other than lending our voice online and through our marketing and PR efforts,  we have a couple of ideas bubbling away but we’ll consolidate these once we’re on the other side of our current focus – IMEX America, which opens next week!

What would you say to event organizers to encourage them to take this training?

Don’t hesitate. Put yourself, your team and your business on the front foot now.

About 20BY20: 20BY20 is an industry-wide awareness campaign to educate 20,000 business events professionals to identify and respond to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Addressing the issue of human trafficking as well as the intersections between human trafficking and the event and travel industry, ECPAT-USA’s 25-minute online course, Preventing & Responding To Human Trafficking And The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of Children teaches BE leaders how to become BE Protectors. This course provides (CE) credit for the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential.

To learn more or get involved in the campaign click here.

ECPAT-USA Launches Initiative to Train 20,000 Professionals To Fight Human Trafficking

20BY20 is an unprecedented partnership with the events industry to combat exploitation worldwide through prevention and response

ECPAT-USA, in conjunction with the United Nations’ World Day Against Human Trafficking in Persons, is launching a landmark global initiative to train 20,000 events industry professionals by July 2020.

To help build a future where this crime does not exist, leading organizations are pledging to proactively encourage their members, partners, and staff to become part of this global effort. ECPAT-USA is pleased to announce its founding class of Business Events Champions includes CorpTrav, CWT, IAEE, IMEX Group, and PCMA. 

Human traffickers use travel industry infrastructure (hotels and airlines) to exploit and transport their victims and can leverage large-scale events to find customers. ECPAT-USA’s 25-minute online training program for business events and travel professionals, Preventing & Responding To Human Trafficking And The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of Children, is designed to teach them what to look for and how to respond to suspected instances of trafficking. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

“We are at a critical juncture in ECPAT-USA’s goal to end child sex trafficking and exploitation,” says Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement for the organization. “To have the business events industry become a unified part of the fight against this international scourge by championing education is essential to achieving this vision.”

 To see the full list of participating organizations, join the cause, or find out more about how industry professionals can become a meaningful part of the solution see The campaign will feature ongoing digital and community promotions, media initiatives, and progress updates. To show your support today, join the force of Business Events Protectors at #BEProtectors and follow our progress at #20BY20.

PCMA And Business Events Join With ECPAT-USA To Eradicate Human Trafficking

PCMA has committed to combat child exploitation by signing The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. In partnership with ECPAT-USA, The Code is the only voluntary set of business principles that companies and organizations in the travel, business travel and tourism industries can implement to prevent and eradicate the trafficking and exploitation of children.

The initiative forms part of the association’s new vision that business events drive social positive transformation. Its commitment to The Code and partnership with ECPAT-USA, which engages with the private sector to drive innovation in protecting children around the world, will see the world’s largest network of business events strategists advocate, build awareness and act on the issue.

The signing of The Code was announced by PCMA Foundation Chair and President of Maritz Global Events David Peckinpaugh during the association’s annual Convening Leaders conference, taking place from Jan. 6-9, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“As an industry, currently worth over $150 billion, we have the power of advocating and raising awareness of the human trafficking epidemic, and have a stronger voice for the vulnerable, whose opinions and opportunities have been taken away from them”, said Peckinpaugh. “Together with ECPAT-USA and other participating organizations, we are committed to doing everything in our power to end human trafficking.”

Alongside other industry experts, Peckinpaugh will present a session at Convening Leaders taking an in-depth look at the human trafficking epidemic.

"One of ECPAT-USA's main focuses — and essential tools for ending child sex trafficking — is engagement with the private sector, including ensuring as many associates in the travel industry are educated about this urgent issue,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. “This new collaborative partnership with PCMA helps expand that mission to thousands more and will help protect countless more children from exploitation."

About PCMA

PCMA educates, inspires and listens, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists providing senior education and networking for the business events sector. PCMA crafts and shares knowledge and market intelligence, enabling organizations to make informed business decisions while providing a platform for peer-to-peer exchange. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 40 countries. For more information on the PCMA family of brands, visit


About ECPAT-USA: ECPAT-USA is the leading anti-child trafficking 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 ECPAT International, a network of organizations in more than 90 countries with one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children around the world. For more information, visit