ECPAT-USA Recognizes ITMI As A Tourism Hero For Their Work In Preventing Trafficking

Throughout National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention, we are celebrating those who have taken a stand against sex trafficking in the tourism and hospitality industry with #TourismHeroTuesday. Every day, our private sector partners are helping to protect children around the world from exploitation.

Today, we’re recognizing International Tour Management Institute (ITMI). Through implementing the tools and best practices taught during their company’s training, two ITMI employees were able to identify and appropriately respond to situations of suspected child sex trafficking. While we are unable to report on the outcome of these cases, both show the important role members of the travel and tourism industry play in the fight to protect the freedom of children across the country.

We at ECPAT-USA applaud our #TourismHeroTuesday partner, ITMI for their efforts!

By Presidential Proclamation, January was officially named National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention to bring awareness to that fact that there are still over 20 million people living in slavery today. Over the years, incredible progress has been made through partnerships between governments and non-profits: laws protecting victims have been passed, offenders put in jail, the number of services have gone way up.

In the last few years, the private sector has stepped up and gotten involved in fighting trafficking, especially when it comes to child sex trafficking victims. Learn more about how your company get join us in creating a world where no child is bought sold or used for sex here.

ECPAT-USA and The Code Announce 2017 US Top Members

The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) recently announced their 2017 Top Member companies. Eight companies, two based in the United States, are newly-recognized as Top Members for their “exceptional work to integrate child protection practices into their businesses.” In total, twenty Top Members are based in the United States and are guided through their membership and implementation with the support of Local Code Representative, ECPAT-USA.


The Code is a set of six voluntary guidelines that travel and tourism companies implement to comprehensively and proactively combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. In order for a company to be recognized as a Top Member, companies must implement all six of The Code criteria within their business operations and report publicly on TheCode.Org website.

“We are encouraged that our Top Members are committed to comprehensive policies and training that protect children,” said ECPAT-USA’s director of private sector engagement, Michelle Guelbart. “The travel industry continues to mobilize on this issue and we look forward to seeing more Code Members join these leaders in 2018.”

The 20 United States 2017 Top Members are:
Adventure Travel Trade Association (trade association)
Altruvistas (tour operator)
Caribe Royale Orlando (hotel)
Carlson (hotel brand)
CorpTrav Management (travel management)
Elevate Destinations*
EmpireCLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services (ground transportation)
Envision Meetings & Incentives (meeting & events)
Hilton Worldwide (hotel brand)
Hospitality eResources (hospitality consulting)
Hyatt Hotels Corporation*
International Tour Management Institute (educational institute)
Maritz Travel (travel management)
Meaningful Trip (tour operator)
Meeting Professionals International – WA State Chapter (trade association)
Nix Conference & Meeting Management (meeting & events)
Platinum Travel & Events (meeting professionals)
Real Hospitality Group (hotel management)
Sabre (global distribution system)
Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (trade association)

* companies newly promoted to Top Member status

See all of the US Code Members and learn more about our work with companies to prevent child trafficking and exploitation.


ECPAT-USA Training Leads ITMI Tour Director To Identify Potential Trafficking Case

Sometimes you just know something is wrong. Recently, a tour director with International Tour Management Institute was traveling on a ferry in North Carolina when she noticed a family of 10. The parents seemed very young—too young to be the parents of the seven girls and one baby that they were traveling with.

What was odder still was that no one in the family was interacting with each other. No one was talking. No one was holding hands. And the girls just looked frightened. Something just seemed off, the tour director told ECPAT-USA.

Having been trained on the signs of sex trafficking through ITMI, the tour director wondered if this was one of those circumstances she had learned about. When a fellow passenger commented on the family’s behavior, she knew that something was awry. She copied the license plate and called 911, and a call later to the dispatched informed her that the family had been detained.

Since 2004, ECPAT-USA has worked with members of the travel and tourism industry to train associates to recognize and appropriately respond to suspected instances of trafficking. Through our partnerships with the private sector, we are able to give more individuals the tools to help us protect more children at home and abroad from sexual exploitation. While we cannot say conclusively that what the tour director witnessed was an instance of sex trafficking, we can say that without her training, those seven girls’ future would have been even more unclear.

To learn more about ECPAT-USA's work with private sector engagement, click here.