Corporate Social Responsibility

Koncept Events Joins Fight Against Human Trafficking

Koncept Events, an award-winning destination management company and corporate meeting planning agency, has announced its pledge to fight human trafficking during National Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month - and all year long - by becoming a partner with ECPAT-USA through The Code.

As a member of The Code, Koncept Events becomes part of an industry-driven initiative that seeks to provide awareness, tools and support to its members to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. Koncept Events joins with hundreds of other companies worldwide that have put ending trafficking and corporate social responsibility at the core of their missions.

According to their site, as a female-owned business, Koncept Events is focused on working to empower women and children in all areas. They believe that in the hospitality industry, in hotels and at airports, people are in a position to truly make change. 

Hear more from the company in the video below.

ECPAT-USA Expanding Anti-Human Trafficking Training to New Areas of the Travel Industry

New training designed for travel management professionals, corporate travel managers, and those in the meeting and events industry

Click through to read the full press release

Click through to read the full press release

Last year, ECPAT-USA shared the story of Denise Miracle, an American Airlines Gate Agent who stopped two young girls from Sacramento, California from meeting a man in New York they had only talked to on Instagram. He told them he would help them become models and sent them tickets. Without their parents knowledge both girls headed to the airport. Unknowingly, the girls had one-way tickets that were bought with fraudulent credit cards. Through training and sound mind, Denise prevented trafficking.

Human traffickers use domestic and international airlines to lure or move victims from one place to another.

The year before, an Uber driver named Keith Avila. He noticed a girl in his car who appeared to be very young and in attire that was not age appropriate. The two women in the car were talking to her about the commercial sex industry. He knew something was wrong and as soon as he dropped the riders off at the hotel where they were meeting a man, he called for help. That day Keith Avila helped break up a child sex trafficking ring.

The on-demand economy can be used to transport victims of trafficking from one hotel to another, where victims are exploited by buyers. Without proper training, victims will go unnoticed.

Hotel executives have shared stories of security professionals using training to identify missing children who now have a chance to be reunited with their families.

These are examples of front-line responses to child sex trafficking. These people responded to their gut instincts and training on human trafficking prevention.

But we knew that wasn’t all we could do.

The International Labor Organization (ILO), estimates that over 40 million people are living in human trafficking and exploitative conditions worldwide. 1 in 4 victims are children. While we know we are making progress, it’s not enough.

ECPAT-USA partners with the top three largest hotel brands in the world and two of the largest domestic airlines. Each company adopted anti-trafficking policies and implements comprehensive training on the issue. The changes we’ve seen are undeniable and there is enough momentum within front-line companies to say that it's time to innovate our efforts.

We heard story after story that proved we need to move beyond the front lines.

We introduced you to Dawn Rasmussen, an Oregon-based resume writer and career management coach who was taking a break from kayaking one day when she noticed a young woman walking alone in a parking lot. She noticed indicators she learned during an education session from her local chapter Meeting Professionals International. Dawn learned the woman was a runaway and she called for support, preventing the woman from being exploited.

Sara, a corporate travel manager, went a conference in Mexico where a company hosted a session about the signs and how to respond to human trafficking. On her way home, she noticed a woman who had little to no luggage, she seemed unclear of her destination, a bit lost. There was just something off. Sara couldn’t believe it. Was she seeing human trafficking in real time?

Sara was not sure exactly what to do but after a few attempts at calls, she finally reached out to airport security who was trained on how to respond to human trafficking. They agreed that her suspicions were sound and sprung into action.

Moving beyond the front lines means engaging a previously untapped sector of the travel industry by providing specialized training in how to identify and stop human trafficking for travel management professionals, corporate travel managers, and those in the meeting and events industry.

Today, ECPAT-USA is proud to launch Preventing & Responding to Human Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children - An E-Learning by ECPAT-USA complete with free tools and resources to help companies combat trafficking and inform suppliers and clients of their commitment.

For decades, the travel industry has been used by traffickers to their own advantage. This training means it will be harder for traffickers to go unnoticed with more sectors of the travel industry involved in identifying and responding to the trafficking of children. Through our partnerships with major hotels and airlines - and now travel industry professionals - we are able to move beyond the front lines and take concrete steps toward ending child sex trafficking.


To access the training visit: www.ecpatusa.org/travel-elearning

To access all ECPAT-USA’s resources for travel professionals visit: www.ecpatusa.org/resources-for-travel-professionals

To donate and support ECPAT-USA’s mission protect every child’s human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking visit: www.ecpatusa.org/donate

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 pcma.org.

About ECPAT-USA

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 ecpatusa.org.


ECPAT-USA And Caesars Entertainment Announce New Partnership To Eradicate Exploitation of Vulnerable Individuals

ECPAT-USA is pleased to welcome Caesars as the first global gaming-entertainment company to sign The Code.

Caesars Entertainment, the world's most diversified casino-entertainment provider, is strengthening its commitment to end human trafficking in partnership with two global organizations that lead the fight to prevent and eradicate the issue. In observance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Caesars announced it has committed to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing ECPAT's Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), and joined a premier consortium of hospitality leaders in the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), which provides a platform for companies to share best practices to end human trafficking.

"Victims of human trafficking, including those involved in the commercial sex industry, do not choose to participate. Rather, they are manipulated, brainwashed and forced based on unforeseen and, oftentimes, seemingly inescapable circumstances," said Jan Jones Blackhurst, Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility at Caesars Entertainment. "We are deeply committed to eliminating sex trafficking and all other forms of human trafficking in our industry and beyond."

Human trafficking, which includes commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, is a complex issue and a particular challenge for the hospitality industry as it often intersects with organized crime activities including arms or drug sales and cybercrime. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), human trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion industry each year. To combat this issue, Caesars has been actively developing comprehensive policies and protocols, including collaboration with advocacy groups and national frameworks, for several years. 

The Code is a joint venture of the tourism and hospitality sectors and ECPAT-USA, the leading policy organization in the U.S. seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Caesars is the first global gaming-entertainment company to sign. A set of shared business principles that travel-related companies implement to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, The Code establishes a framework for companies to provide training, enact a value chain and educate, support and collaborate with stakeholders.

"As the first global gaming-entertainment company to sign The Code, Caesars Entertainment's efforts will be amplified through our network as we identify and respond to human trafficking and child exploitation," said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. "ECPAT-USA is excited about the new partnership and the comprehensive angle Caesars is taking to address the issue."

Additionally, Caesars joined other hospitality industry leaders as a member of ITP. The organization is a unique industry coalition that convenes leading hotel brands that recognize the need for collective and collaborative action to achieve the group's set of "Sustainable Development Goals," including those related to human rights.

"We're delighted to welcome Caesars Entertainment to our membership and aid in its mission to prevent and address instances of human trafficking in all forms," said Madhu Rajesh, Director at ITP. "This important step forward allows Caesars and our other partners the opportunity to collaborate among like-minded and driven organizations to make an impact on human rights issues like human trafficking."

Caesars Entertainment also combats human trafficking through its pioneering, multi-year counter-trafficking program created in collaboration with international trafficking and trauma expert Dr. Halleh Seddighzadeh. As part of the program, Caesars conducts customized, in-depth training of Community Engagement Ambassadors at 12 resorts in Nevada and North Carolina. Community Engagement Ambassadors are security employees who are trained to identify potential indicators of human trafficking, especially sex trafficking. The program also includes anti-trafficking videos and signage along with victim-centered and trauma-focused internal and external protocols and policies. In observance of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Caesars will honor its Las Vegas-region Community Engagement Ambassadors with two ceremonies hosted by the company's senior leadership.

"Businesses have the power to disrupt and intercept issues related to human trafficking by shifting the narrative," said Dr. Seddighzadeh. "By utilizing a victim-centered approach and training Community Engagement Ambassadors, Caesars is actively combatting commercial sexual exploitation at its roots and using business as a powerful tool for healing and change."

Caesars shares its Stance Against Human Trafficking on its website as part of its Corporate Code of Commitment. As part of Caesars' established leadership, it is a founding partner of the Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) Employers Alliance. BEST is the first public-private partnership in the nation to work across industries to prevent commercial sexual exploitation. Caesars Entertainment also participates in the American Gaming Association Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, which includes a focus on addressing human trafficking in the gaming industry. Further, the company acknowledges the potential for forced labor in supply chains, and its Responsible Supplier Statement outlines reasonable expectations for the responsible and ethical business practices of suppliers throughout its supply chain.

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

ABOUT CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION
Caesars Entertainment is the world's most diversified casino-entertainment provider and the most geographically diverse U.S. casino-entertainment company. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, in 1937, Caesars Entertainment has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions and its portfolio of subsidiaries now operate 47 casinos in 13 U.S. states and five countries. Caesars Entertainment's resorts operate primarily under the Caesars®, Harrah's® and Horseshoe® brand names. Caesars Entertainment's portfolio also includes the Caesars Entertainment UK family of casinos. Caesars Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its guests through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership. Caesars Entertainment is committed to its employees, suppliers, communities and the environment through its PEOPLE PLANET PLAY framework. For more information, please visit www.caesars.com.

ABOUT THE CODE
The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, known as The Code, is the world's first and only voluntary set of business principles that travel companies can implement to prevent child trafficking. The Code provides awareness, tools, and support to travel companies, with the aim of creating a highly aware and well-trained tourism industry that can recognize and prevent potential abuse. Since its launch in 2004, more than 40 US companies have joined The Code, including some of the world's most notable airlines, hotels, and travel management companies. To learn more, visit ecpatusa.org/Code.

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL TOURISM PARTNERSHIP
The International Tourism Partnership drives responsible business in the hospitality industry by engaging with the world's leading hotel companies, which collectively manage 35,000 hotels. ITP's members are Caesars Entertainment, Deutsche Hospitality, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton, Hyatt, Indian Hotels Company Ltd, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, NH Hotel Group, Radisson Hotel Group, Scandic Hotels, Soneva, Whitbread and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. ITP is an initiative of Business in the Community. BITC is the Prince of Wales' Responsible Business Network. For more information on ITP and our programs visit http://tourismpartnership.org/

Cover image via Caesars Entertainment


ECPAT-USA Director Of Private Sector Engagement Honored For Work In Social Responsibility

Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement has been named to BizBash’s list of the Top 500 People in Events in the Sustainability and Social Responsibility category. According to the publication, the list is meant to recognize the best of the meeting and event industry across North America and includes people who lead the largest trade and consumer shows, orchestrate global brand campaigns, and plan high-visibility cultural events that have everyone talking on social media.

“I am surprised and honored to be mentioned in a list with so many amazing leaders in the events industry,” said Guelbart. “It is a privilege spreading ECPAT-USA’s message to the private sector and help build upon the global movement to end child trafficking.”

Guelbart, left, at the AccorHotels signing of The Code.

Guelbart, left, at the AccorHotels signing of The Code.

For over 14 years, ECPAT-USA has worked with the hotel and tourism industry to combat the sexual exploitation of children. As the Director of Private Sector Engagement, Guelbart has been instrumental to increasing the industry’s awareness of the issue and advising companies in the implementation of policies to identify and prevent child sex trafficking. Under her guidance and leadership, real steps have been taken to better protect children around the world.

ECPAT-USA congratulates Michelle on this recognition!

22 US Business and Trade Associations join ECPAT-USA to Urge Congress to Pass Major Trafficking Bill

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act, originally passed in the year 2000, is the United States' groundbreaking legislation to end human trafficking and provides much-needed assistance to human trafficking victims.

The proposed reauthorization, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, and complimentary Senate bills, emphasize a victim-focused approach to combating human trafficking, while also strengthening restitution to survivors. Critically, a number of new provisions concerning endangered children were also added to the legislation.

Virtually every law enforcement initiative, effort to assist victims or policy to combat child trafficking around the globe stems from this lynchpin of federal policy.

“The reauthorization of this law is vital for our national effort to end human trafficking at home and around the world. We are very proud of the partnerships we’ve built with the business community, and are very grateful to them for lending their voices in support of this bipartisan legislative initiative,” said Jason Matthews, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, ECPAT-USA.

American industries continue to make notable progress in the fight against human trafficking by adopting corporate policies, instituting training, and providing own insights into the best practices to exploitation. Many companies have partnered with ECPAT-USA to develop policies and programs designed to prevent the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.

“No single group can combat human trafficking on its own, which is why ECPAT-USA partners with both the private sector and governments to comprehensively address the issue,” said Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement. “We proudly stand together with our corporate partners and urge Speaker Ryan to pass this bill.”

The 22 companies and associations that signed on to the letter are as follows:

Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)

American Airlines

Association of Corporate Travel Executive (ACTE)

Cadence Travel

Carlson Wagonlit Travel

CI Azumano

CorpTrav Management Group

EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services

Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)

HRS Global Hotel Solutions

IGLTA Foundation

International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)

International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

Koncept Events

Lannan Legal PLLC

Maritz Travel Company

Milligan Events

Preferred Hotels & Resorts

Real Hospitality Group

Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE)

Uber Technologies Inc.

Vision Hospitality Group

For a copy of the letter, which was sent to Speaker Paul Ryan click here.

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.

Cadence Travel Combats Child Sex Trafficking with ECPAT-USA and The Code

In 2017, Cadence Travel partnered with ECPAT-USA and joined The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) and implemented a policy against child sex trafficking. The Code is an industry-driven initiative to provide awareness, tools, and support to the private sector to help combat the sexual exploitation of children.

Cadence’s policy states a zero-tolerance for child sex trafficking, instructs their associates what to do if they suspect instances of trafficking, and also addresses labor trafficking. Cadence began training their staff to recognize and report suspected instances of trafficking in early 2018.

“We have always been compelled to give back to our communities, both locally and globally,” Cadence CEO and Founder Wendy Burk said. “As a leader in the travel industry, we are especially sensitive to the role that travel brands like hotels and airlines unfortunately and unwillingly play in human trafficking. We are leveraging our connections with travelers and travel partners around the world to join the global fight and raise awareness and kicked off our ECPAT partnership by raising over $23,000 for a local safe house for women rescued from trafficking in San Diego, where we are headquartered. It was disheartening to learn that our own city is among the top ten high-intensity areas for sex trafficking in America, so we knew we had to start here.”

Cadence Travel manages business travel, meetings and incentives travel, and more. By working with their partners to include child protection language in RFPs and contracts, travel management companies like Cadence can have a major impact on this issue.

“ECPAT-USA is proud to partner with Cadence Travel to raise awareness and use their influence to combat human trafficking in the travel industry,” said Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement. “They’ve hit the ground running and we are excited to continue this partnership in order to increase ECPAT-USA’s reach and protect children globally.”

ECPAT-USA partners with private sector companies in the travel and tourism industries to combat child sexual exploitation. Click here to see a full list of partners who have signed The Code.

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ECPAT-USA and Marriott International Announce New Partnership to Protect Children from Trafficking

ECPAT-USA and Marriott International Announce New Partnership to Protect Children from Trafficking

ECPAT-USA, the country’s leading anti-child trafficking policy organization, announced a new partnership with global hospitality company Marriott International to combat and prevent human trafficking and exploitation in all forms. Marking National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Marriott International signed ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools, and support to the travel and hospitality industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.