Responsible Travel

Kentucky State Senate Combats Trafficking

Kentucky State Senate Combats Trafficking

The Kentucky State Senate approved a resolution to curtail child sex trafficking by encouraging Kentucky residents, employees, and agencies to use travel brands that are combating the crime. Specifically, the resolution cites ECPAT-USA and The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) and recommends that people use hotels, venues, and other brands that are members of The Code.

ECPAT-USA Recognizes RHG As A Tourism Hero For Being Proactive In Fight To End 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 Real Hospitality Group (RHG). An associate of RHG was recently working at the front desk of a hotel in New York City when they noticed a teenage boy sitting in the lobby by himself. When an hour or so later he was still there, the associate approached him and struck up a conversation. The associate learned that he had run away and had taken a bus nearly 500 miles from his home in Virginia. The associate called the police, who attended the scene, and contacted the child’s parents, and waited until both arrived to make sure the boy stayed safe.

As runaway and homeless youth are a population particularly vulnerable to traffickers, we applaud RHG for their proactive work and taking action to prevent a potential trafficking situation before it starts.

“The initiatives of ECPAT-USA have been a critical part of our corporate responsibility platform and we have continued to use our sphere of influence to educate and train our field team members to identify and help put an end to child trafficking and exploitation,” said Ben Seidel, President and CEO of RHG. “We have invested a great deal of time to develop a program that can be successfully deployed at our hotels and contributes to the goals of ECPAT-USA.”

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 nonprofits: 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 can join us in creating a world where no child is bought sold or used for sex here.

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.

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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.

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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.

No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers: An Overview

In September we released No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers, an impact report about the results of ECPAT-USA’s work to prevent and disrupt the commercial sexual exploitation of children in hotels. Since the release we’ve authored a series of blogs providing information to people in different sectors about how they can combat child sex trafficking.

 

The series includes:

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Is There Really No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers? This blog explains why the No Vacancy report is necessary and provides an introduction to the report. As this blog says, No Vacancy for Sex Traffickers reveals how many hotels in the United States train their associates to recognize and respond to child sex trafficking, where sex trafficking training is coming from, and more.

How You Can Fight Child Sex Trafficking on Your Next Trip This blog speaks to travelers, and provides practical steps you can take to join the fight against child sex trafficking. From traveling responsibly to asking your favorite hotel to join the Code, travelers can help keep children safe.

How Hotels Can Fight Trafficking This blog speaks to people working in the hotel industry. This blog outlines steps all hotels must take to protect children, such as adopting policies and related to the sexual exploitation of children, having resources available to properties, and mandating that associates working in all hotel properties—whether they are franchised or owned—have training.

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What Governments Can Do to Combat Child Sex Trafficking This blog discusses what steps governments must take to protect the children in their communities. These steps include passing laws that require hotels to train their associates on child sexual exploitation, with consultation and resources from groups already working on the issue, and passing transparency legislation that includes child sexual exploitation language.

How the Meetings and Events Industry Can Help Stop Child Sex Trafficking This blog is for people working in the meetings and events industry. It offers information about how meetings and events professionals can persuade both travel suppliers (hotels, airlines, etc.) and corporate travel managers to implement policies and programs to protect children.

You can also learn more by reading the full report, No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers.

 

ECPAT-USA Applauds ITP's Vision for 2030: Sustainable Growth & a Fairer Future For All

This fall, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) launched their Vision for 2030. The Vision for 2030 includes the launch of ITP’s goals, four commitments to work among ITP member companies to address four issues in the hospitality industry: Youth Employment, Carbon, Water, and Human Rights.

The International Tourism Partnership is an international organization that works to bring hotels together to address social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Vision 2030 is designed to be a practically achievable call to action for the entire hospitality industry on four of the main sustainability issues impacting hospitality brands. The initiative’s goals were created with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind, as a way for the industry to make a positive contribution to the SDGs.

ECPAT-USA applauds the International Tourism Partnership for leading the way on these issues and creating a call to action for the tourism industry to lead on sustainability and human rights.

The goals in each area are:

  • YOUTH EMPLOYMENT: Collectively impact one million young people through employability programmes by 2030, thereby doubling the industry’s current impact on youth unemployment.

  • CARBON: Embrace science-based targets, and encourage the wider industry to join in reducing emissions at scale.

  • WATER: Embed water stewardship programmes to reduce the number of people affected by water scarcity; also improve water-use efficiency and identify ways to address water scarcity.

  • HUMAN RIGHTS: Raise awareness of human rights risks, embed human rights into corporate governance, and address risks arising in the labour supply chain and during hotel construction.

With the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), ECPAT-USA works with the tourism industry to integrate training about human trafficking, a human rights issue, into human resources standards. The International Tourism Partnership’s initiative to address human rights, as well as sustainability issues, is a commendable project that shows how the tourism industry can use its power and influence for good.

To learn more about ITP’s Vision for 2030 click here.

To learn more about ECPAT-USA’s work with the hospitality industry, visit https://www.ecpatusa.org/private-sector-engagement/.

ECPAT-USA and American Airlines Partner to Protect Children from Trafficking and Exploitation

ECPAT-USA and American Airlines Partner to Protect Children from Trafficking and Exploitation

ECPAT-USA is proud to announce that American Airlines is taking a major step in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation by committing to sign ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). The Code is an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.