Companies that acknowledge their role and responsibility in recognizing and preventing child sex trafficking are key to ending exploitation. Since we began working with the hotel and travel industry, we have seen the impact these partnerships have - including protecting countless children. You can use the following three ways to make your company a champion for children today.
Now more than ever, customers are seeking responsibly-sourced products that make a difference, and the same should be true when it comes to corporate event gifts. Made at the Regina Center in Thailand, our fair trade keychains not only support our work to end exploitation, they provide income-generating opportunities for women at the center. The project enables women to stay in their villages and keep their children in school, which are two major strategies in reducing sex trafficking.
Companies of all sizes and structures can integrate policies against human trafficking into an already existing human rights policy, adopt the policy on its own, and/or include it in the company’s employee handbook. In addition, large-scale travel purchasing can influence travel companies to take steps to fight human trafficking and child exploitation by including language addressing the issue in Requests For Proposals (RFPs). By making these requirements part of standard travel procurement practice, meetings and travel professionals send the message that child sex trafficking is unacceptable.
Last January, ECPAT-USA launched a new e-learning to help previously untapped sectors of the travel industry join the fight to end human trafficking. Through the training, travel, and meetings professionals are given the tools to identify and respond to trafficking as well as how to take action with clients and suppliers. Check out the e-learning and free resources for travel professionals on our site today.
As part of their Customer Summit this week in Chicago, Hyatt Hotels and American Airlines reaffirmed their commitment to ending child sex trafficking with the announcement of a major donation in support of ECPAT-USA’s work. Additionally, at the three-day event for their top corporate members, the two companies highlighted their private sector partnerships with ECPAT-USA and the impact such partnerships have on the fight to protect every child's right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation.
As corporate partners and members of The Code, both Hyatt and American Airlines have taken concrete steps to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. ECPAT-USA is excited about the continuing efforts by these companies to train their staff about child trafficking and taking all the steps in their power to protect our most precious resource, our children.
To learn more about how your company can partner with ECPAT-USA, click here.
Signing of The Code to take place via MPI live stream on Global Meetings Industry Day
DALLAS, April 3, 2019 -- Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the world's largest meeting and event industry association, today announced the organization's commitment to combat child sex trafficking through a partnership with ECPAT-USA. As part of a live stream on April 4, 2019, celebrating Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID), MPI will sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) a travel and tourism industry-driven initiative that seeks to provide awareness, tools, and support to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
A joint venture between the private sector and ECPAT-USA, The Code is a voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent the trafficking of children. As part of the commitment, ECPAT-USA will provide tools that will help MPI raise awareness of the issue and stop child sex trafficking.
"Meeting and event professionals are in a unique position to raise awareness of and prevent child sex trafficking," said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. "We're excited to see a globally recognized organization like Meeting Professionals International take a leadership role on this issue. Through this partnership with MPI, we will be able to expand the fight to end exploitation to thousands of individuals in over a dozen countries around the world."
The signing of The Code on GMID will be led by CEO and President, Paul Van Deventer, VP of People and Performance, Diane Hawkins and COO, Darren Temple. In 2017, MPI committed to join the fight to stop human trafficking, with a focus on ending the sexual exploitation of children. Over the past 18 months, working closely with organizations such as ECPAT and Sisters of Charity, and by engaging the community through monthly articles in MPI's publications, providing training to volunteer leaders, and offering educational programming, MPI has made a concerted effort to raise awareness of this crime, while also instructing on specific actions to prevent it.
"As a leader in the meetings and events industry, MPI assumes great responsibility to raising awareness about the human sex trafficking epidemic and advocating with our partners to take action against it," said Paul Van Deventer, MPI president, and CEO. "The travel industry is a target for human traffickers and by educating the meetings and events industry about signs to look for, we hope to prevent potential abuse and keep children safe."
GMID brings together leaders from across the meetings and events industry to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows, and exhibitions have on people, businesses and communities.
(MARLBOROUGH MA) - Atlas Travel is proud to announce its partnership with ECPAT-USA, the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Human trafficking is an international and multi-billion dollar market whose proceedings are often unwittingly facilitated by the travel and hospitality industries. As a member of the travel and tourism community, it’s our responsibility to shed light on this global atrocity.
“We are proud of our ongoing commitment to our local communities and continually strive to set the standard for corporate contributions towards the betterment of society,” says founder and CEO Elaine Osgood. “We’ve spent considerable time and resources translating our long-standing culture of community empowerment into a foundational business pillar. We are honored and excited that these efforts have led to becoming the first New England-based travel management company to join ECPAT-USA in fighting global injustices against children.”
In addition to partnering with ECPAT-USA, Atlas Travel has also become a member of the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct. The Code is the world’s first and only voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. The Code provides members with support and resources to raise awareness; in turn, members commit to implementing six essential measures:
Establish policies and procedures against human trafficking and child exploitation
Train employees on said policies and procedures
Include a contract clause for business partners, including RFPs
Provide information to travelers
Support, collaborate & engage stakeholders
Report annually on initiatives
“Companies that recognize their role and responsibility in recognizing and preventing child sex trafficking are a key in ending exploitation,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA.“We are excited to welcome Atlas Travel to The Code and as a new partner in helping us protect children.”
With these core measures in place, our work throughout the year will expand upon these commitments, especially raising both industry-wide and public awareness. We hope these efforts curb trafficking not only internationally, but domestically as well: human trafficking occurs in all 50 states, in cities and rural communities alike.
About Atlas Travel
Headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, Atlas Travel offers corporate travel, vacation planning, and meetings and incentives services. For over thirty years, Atlas Travel has been providing easier travel and better management to companies around the globe. Through a wholly-owned UK division and affiliation with BCD Travel, Atlas Travel offers global travel programs to more than 110 countries. Atlas Travel is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB), as well as a distinguished member of the Inc. 5000 list.
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. For more than 25 years, ECPAT-USA has been leading the charge to prevent child trafficking before it happens. ECPAT-USA is a member of the ECPAT International network, with offices in 95 countries. For more information on ECPAT-USA, visit ecpatusa.org; for specific details on The Code, please visit ecpatusa.org/Code.
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.
New training designed for travel management professionals, corporate travel managers, and those in the meeting and events industry
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 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."
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: 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.