Private Sector Engagement

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.



Fox World Travel Announces Anti-Trafficking Partnership with ECPAT-USA

Today, Fox World Travel joined the fight against human trafficking by signing ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) during its participation at the GBTA Conference in Chicago.  Signing “The Code”, a set of business principles travel and tourism companies implement to specifically combat child sex trafficking, symbolizes Fox World Travel’s commitment to helping raise awareness of human trafficking and child sex trafficking throughout the travel and tourism industry.

 “We are honored to Soar Together with ECPAT-USA to bring awareness of human trafficking to our Fox Family members, partners and travelers,” said Chip Juedes, Fox World Travel CEO. “Our partnership with ECPAT-USA gives us the ability to take an active role in the education of this important issue, hopefully leading to the safety of many innocent children.”

Fox World 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 by raising awareness, advocating for victims, and pushing for policy and legislative changes to protect them. As a leader in both the global consumer and business travel industry, Fox World Travel is positioned to provide a unique opportunity to help.

Human trafficking is an international and multi-billion-dollar market whose proceedings are often unwittingly facilitated by the travel and hospitality industries. The United Nations’ International Labour Organization estimates that more than 40 million people around the world are trapped in modern-day exploitation. Traffickers often use air travel to transport victims and use hotels as venues to abuse them.  

“Here at Fox, we are committed to doing our part in bettering society. We believe it is our duty not only as members of the travel industry, but simply as human beings, to fight global injustices against children by joining ECPAT-USA in their mission,” said Juedes.

In addition to partnering with ECPAT-USA, Fox World 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 requests for proposals

  • Provide information to travelers

  • Support, collaborate & engage stakeholders

  • Report annually on initiatives

“We are excited to partner with Fox World Travel and welcome them as the newest member of The Code,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA.  “Through committing to train associates and establish policies to prevent child sex trafficking, Fox World Travel is taking concrete steps to protect children around the world from exploitation.” With these core measures in place, our work throughout the year will expand upon these commitments, especially raising both industry-wide and public awareness. 

G6 Hospitality Partners with ECPAT-USA to Combat Trafficking and Exploitation

DALLAS – JULY 30, 2019G6 Hospitality LLC, the parent company of Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands in the United States and Canada, today announced a partnership to help combat commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing ECPAT's Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). The announcement comes on a day designated by the United Nations as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

The Code is a joint venture of the tourism and hospitality sectors and ECPAT-USA, a leader in advocacy and efforts to shape policy designed to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children.  Built upon a set of shared business principles that travel-related organizations put in place to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, The Code establishes a framework for companies to provide training, education, and collaboration with other stakeholders.   

“ECPAT-USA is proud to welcome G6 Hospitality as our newest corporate partner and member of The Code,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. “As a leader in the economy lodging space, G6 Hospitality will bring an important perspective to our work to end child exploitation and sex trafficking.” 

In addition to its partnership with ECPAT-USA, G6 Hospitality requires trafficking awareness and prevention training of all team members at all locations, both owned and franchised. The company also mandates human trafficking prevention training developed by the non-profit Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) and sponsored by the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA). This training teaches team members how to recognize and report human trafficking. 

“When hotel employees are trained to recognize and report potential human trafficking situations, it can make all the difference in the life of someone who is being trafficked,” said Mar Brettmann, PhD, executive director for BEST. “Our training clearly explains the risks and indicators of human trafficking, and how hotel employees can report incidents to managers.”

G6 Hospitality teams regularly assess properties to ensure safety and security measures are in place and training is completed and takes action, up to and including terminating contracts or closing locations, as appropriate. The company is an active member of American Hotel and Lodging Association and its industry-wide No Room for Trafficking campaign

“Organizations in the travel industry are often on the front lines of this deeply troubling issue.  Our partnerships with ECPAT-USA and others are critically important as we come together to fight back against trafficking and exploitation in all its forms,” said Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality.

Members of The Code include more than 40 of the world’s leading travel, tourism, and hospitality businesses.  To learn more, visit www.TheCode.org. 

About G6 Hospitality

G6 Hospitality LLC owns, operates, and franchises more than 1,400 economy lodging locations under the Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands in the United States and Canada and the Hotel 6 brand in India. Having opened its 1,000th franchise location in 2018, G6 also has plans to franchise the Hotel 6 and Estudio 6 brands in Central America. Headquartered in Dallas (Carrollton), Texas, G6 Hospitality recently placed 73rd in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 40th Annual Franchising 500. The company has also been named a “Best for Vets” employer by Military Times and in 2018 was inducted into the Military Spouses Employment Partnership sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. For more information, please visit www.g6hospitality.com. 

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 www.ecpatusa.org. 

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 www.ecpatusa.org/code

About Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST)
Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization with the mission to align and equip leaders to use the power of business to prevent human trafficking. BEST is the first organization in the country dedicated entirely to working with businesses to disrupt human trafficking. BEST has provided consultation and training to hundreds of businesses on how to prevent human trafficking, and they have trained thousands of hotel employees in how to protect their hotel from human trafficking. For more information, visit www.bestalliance.org.

Introducing Additional Anti-Trafficking Poster Options for Hotels

In honor of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, ECPAT-USA, the leading policy organization seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation  is excited to announce the release of new prevention and awareness materials created in collaboration with Marriott International, Polaris Project, and A21 Campaign. The new posters, available publicly to any company, group, or individual, can be downloaded for free here

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A number of states have passed laws mandating the posting of human trafficking related signage in hotels and other establishments. Our recent report, Unpacking Human Trafficking, surveyed state law requirements and can help you determine what regulations are in your state. Hotels in states that are not legally mandated to post signage are encouraged to do so voluntarily. ECPAT-USA promotes awareness messaging in businesses trying to take proactive steps to protect children from sexual exploitation. 

These new materials are available in a variety of colors and designs and include indicators of both sex and labor trafficking, as well as information about the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Downloading and displaying these resources is an easy way to get involved in the movement and actively participate in World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. 

These posters are just the latest additions to our extensive collection of publicly available anti-trafficking materials. For additional hotel-specific tools, 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 www.ecpatusa.org/20by20. 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.



How to Put the "FUN" in Fundraising And Engage Your Team For A Great Cause

By Mary Rudd and Matt West

Mary Rudd is the Talent Acquisition, Development and Corporate Responsibility Coordinator and Matt West is the Director of Talent Acquisition, Development and Corporate Responsibility at Real Hospitality Group, a partner of ECPAT-USA and member of The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code).

Real Hospitality Group embarked on a mission this summer to put the “FUN” in Fundraising as well as to engage with our associates and come together for a great cause.  To do this, we decided to hold Real Hospitality Group’s first ever Fete en Blanc Eastern shore and RHG’s second Cycle for Freedom with SWERVE Fitness.

Fete en Blanc 2019:

Modeled after Dîner en Blanc held in Paris, a Feté en Blanc is an event in which picnic-goers gather in a public space to set up a temporary, chic dining experience.  An invitation-only, popup feast to celebrate our associates, the community where we live and work, and the summer solstice. Party attendees must provide their own provisions, table set ups and decorations and are required to be dressed “to the nines” in all white.  To build excitement and pique interest, there is a mysterious twist in that the location is kept under wraps until 24 hours prior to the event.  

As a hotel management company, RHG is working relentlessly to raise awareness and to help eradicate child trafficking in the hospitality industry and the hotels we manage.  We aspired to create a unique and whimsical event that would get the word out and maximize the monies donated to our chosen cause – ECPAT USA. What a better way to symbolize the innocence of children than with an all-white, decadent popup picnic?   

ECPAT USA’s mission is to protect every child’s human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking, placing a strong focus on the hospitality industry.  Working one-on-one with communities throughout the nation, the legislatures and corporations, ECPAT-USA is leading the charge to end human trafficking around the world.   

Attendees received an email on Friday, May 31, to reveal that the first Annual Real Hospitality Feté en Blanc (scheduled on June 1) was to be held at the Windmill Creek Winery in Berlin, MD.  Guests arrived in their finest white regalia and were greeted at registration with a fantastic gift bag full of “all white” goodies donated by our very generous vendors. Activities included entertainment throughout the night, lawn games, henna tattoos, silent auction, selfie station, food trucks and of course delicious food.  Our MC closed the evening with the award to the group with the most grand and opulent “all white” table set up.  

This was a great event which brought together the community and RHG Associates, helped raise awareness of the issue of Human Trafficking and Exploitation and got various vendors involved in this cause. Our first Feté was a huge success with 75 attendees.  We are looking to build on to next year’s event and are now scouting for the venue for the 2020 Feté.

RHG Cycle for Freedom 2019:

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In New York, we hosted our second “RHG Cycle for Freedom” on June 29th 2019.  Our first Cycle for Freedom last year was a great success and very popular with our Associates.  Real Hospitality Group rents a studio with 48 bikes at SWERVE Flatiron District. Associates across our hotels can register a team of up to five people to take part.  The event is completely free for associates to register – all we ask is that they raise as much as possible using our Crowdrise fundraising page and ask friends/family/colleagues/vendors and communities to donate to the team.  The Cycle for Freedom is a fun filled 45-minute rhythm ride and the bikes are arranged into three teams. The team dynamic keeps you motivated, supported, and accountable, without ever singling you out. This was a great event to bring associates together from various hotels who may have never met but are on the same team – just like RHG working together towards a common goal.  Again, this event created a lot of awareness with our vendors making kind donations towards the cause. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

The goal of all of our fundraising activities aside from raising money for ECPAT-USA is to bring people together, have fun and raise awareness.  With these two events, we believed we were successful in achieving our mission.

To learn more about how to incorporate employee engagement and corporate responsibility activities to your company, check out our blog or email info@ecpatusa.org

Investing in AI to Protect Children Online

In this series, Nicole Phocas and Ashley Solle reflect on their endeavors during their time as private sector engagement interns at ECPAT-USA

Last week, End Violence Against Children invited ECPAT-USA to attend a panel event titled “Investing in AI to Make Children Safe Online” to inform industry representatives from a range of public, private, and nonprofit sector organizations on recent technological advances toward fighting issues of child abuse, cyberbullying, and child sexual exploitation and trafficking. After a light lunch and time to network with the attendees, we took our seats to hear what the four panelists had to say.   

The first of the panel’s presenters was Emily Cashman Kirstein, Senior Manager of Government Affairs at Thorn. Thorn’s mission is to eliminate child sexual abuse material from the internet; Kirstein explained how there is a massive rise in cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse in the new internet age, illustrating the importance of focusing on technology.  She brought up a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) index on child sexual abuse and exploitation by country, which was developed in collaboration with Thorn to provide researchers and the public with valuable information on how countries are combatting child exploitation issues. Interestingly, the scoring of countries was influenced in part by ECPAT-USA’s The Code.

Of course, just because a child has been liberated from a particular sexual abuse situation does not mean that online imagery of the survivor has been removed. To address the difficulty of locating every platform and location where child sexual abuse imagery might have been shared or posted, Thorn is working on a victim identification software for law enforcement agencies. By creating facial recognition software, Thorn can locate and (ideally) remove the material and protect the survivor. Thorn is also working on research and development, including efforts to make platforms more hostile to abusers and using technology to locate offenders. We found these efforts to integrate technology into the fight, from the index to facial recognition software, to be incredibly fascinating and innovative. We don’t doubt that they’ll be a useful addition to law enforcement as well as victim protection and research on trafficking

Chris Fabian, another panelist, discussed the current work of UNICEF Ventures and UN Innovation Network. The goal of UNICEF Ventures is to make investments into technological initiatives around the world which progress the organization’s goals surrounding the protection, empowerment, and defense of children. UNICEF Ventures is focused on creating an AI program that can conduct data analysis for regions where data is scarce, usually developing countries. There wasn’t a direct link to our focus areas, but his comments on collecting data from local sources highlight the need for accurate and sustainable numbers in order to conduct research on the most efficient ways to fight child sexual exploitation. Unfortunately for now, advanced technological infrastructure is only readily available in the developed world, so the scope of combating sexual exploitation of children through AI is limited to this region.

Dr. Rhema Vaithaianathan, Co-Director of the Center for Social Data Analytics at Auckland University of Technology and Project Lead on an international research effort to create Child Abuse Predictive Risk Analysis software followed Fabian’s discussion on AI programs by discussing her efforts and the challenges she has been facing in the development of algorithms.  Most notably, Vaithianathan and her research team have been running into issues in facial recognition software developing unfair biases when determining the risk that a certain child may face for abuse. The technical details of the issue are complex, but the problem also highlights that child sexual exploitation and abuse can happen anywhere to any child from any background.  

The final panelist is Suvi Uski, CEO at Someturva, a Finland-based start-up which has created an AI-powered online legal service for cyberbullying and social media harassment issues. Uski, whose background in social psychology gives her a unique perspective on a topic that is often strictly scientific, emphasized that AI is critical in the nonprofit sector for reaching a larger number of at-risk people with fewer monetary resources.  

Technology plays a large role in enabling sexual exploitation of children, but can also be pivotal in the prevention and prosecution of sexual exploitation of children. Including AI in multidisciplinary approach to combating the issue is a critical step in adapting to the rise in cases involving the internet.