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.