press release

Lori L. Cohen To Take the Helm at ECPAT-USA

Lori L. Cohen

Lori L. Cohen

ECPAT-USA, the preeminent policy organization working to protect children in the United States from commercial sexual exploitation, is delighted to announce the selection of its new Executive Director, Lori L. Cohen.  She will assume her new position on November 4, 2019.

Ms. Cohen brings a wealth of experience to ECPAT-USA’s work to end human trafficking.  Prior to joining ECPAT-USA, she created and directed the Anti-Trafficking Initiative at Sanctuary for Families, Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services.  Her team garnered widespread recognition, assisting more than 2000 adult and child victims survivors of human trafficking and other forms of gender-based abuse. 

A graduate of Yale Law School, Ms. Cohen has drawn upon her experience representing victims to engage in anti-trafficking policy advocacy on federal, state and local levels.  She has conducted trainings in the US and abroad for audiences as diverse as child welfare advocates, attorneys, judges, bankers, law enforcement, medical practitioners, Mexican congressional representatives, inmates at a state women’s correctional facility, and Russian LGBTQ activists.

“We were daunted by the task of finding an individual who could build on the stupendous work for more than twenty-five years of our current Director, Carol  Smolenski. Carol and ECPAT have created awareness of the prevalence of the commercial exploitation of American children and through our advocacy and programs have been the recognized leader in advocating for the protection of children’s rights against this exploitation. Lori is the ideal individual to strengthen and expand this work!” said Jackie Shapiro, Chair of the Board of ECPAT-USA and Co-Chair of the ED Search Committee.

“It is a tremendous privilege to succeed Carol Smolenski in her pioneering work at ECPAT-USA,” noted Ms. Cohen.  “In the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, ECPAT’s mission educating the public about the risks facing our children from sex buyers is more urgent than ever.  As Executive Director for ECPAT-USA, I am eager to advocate for policies ensuring that, one day, no child will ever again be bought or sold for sex.”

Hotel Industry Unites On New Campaign To Fight Human Trafficking

‘No Room for Trafficking’ Aims to Train Every Employee in the Industry

WASHINGTON (June 26, 2019) – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today launched a new national campaign to unite the industry around a single, comprehensive approach to fight human trafficking. The No Room for Trafficking campaign builds on the hotel industry’s long-standing legacy and commitment to combat human trafficking. Already each year, thousands of hotel employees are trained. With this campaign, AHLA builds on the industry’s record by convening the entire industry with the goal of training every hotel worker.

“No Room for Trafficking sends a loud and clear message: we will not tolerate human trafficking in the hotel industry,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “Thanks to our dedicated associates, our industry already has a strong record of combatting trafficking and supporting survivors. There is still much more to do, and our commitment to training and education will continue to make a difference.”

The hotel industry has long recognized the critical role it plays in ending the scourge of human trafficking, and through innovative techniques and employee training has played an instrumental role in identifying, reporting and stopping instances of human trafficking.

AHLA kicked-off the campaign at a strategic roundtable today bringing together industry leaders, government partners, law enforcement and national trafficking prevention partners to underscore the industry’s efforts around human trafficking.

Since trafficking networks often rely on legitimate businesses—many in the tourism supply chain—to sustain their illicit and illegal operations, hoteliers are uniquely positioned to identify and disrupt this terrible practice. Hoteliers can play an important role in combatting trafficking through raising awareness, improved coordination with law enforcement, and ongoing workforce training.

The No Room for Trafficking campaign outlines four core pillars to bring the hotel industry together and build upon current efforts:

  • Elevate issue awareness through increased education, resources and training for all hotel employees;

  • Assess protocols, procedures, and technologies to confirm training effectiveness and employee vigilance;

  • Educate by developing strategic intervention and disruption strategies to identify and report suspected trafficking situations;

    Support by furthering partnerships with leading national human trafficking and law enforcement organizations to establish industry standards and support survivors

As part of the campaign, AHLA is providing new resources and materials for members, including the following:

  • Action Plan for hoteliers to implement that includes training staff on what to look for and how to respond; displaying human trafficking indicator signage; establishing a companywide policy; ongoing coordination with law enforcement; and sharing success stories and best practices.

  • Companywide anti-trafficking policy template for members who may not already have a policy in place that incorporates key elements and recommendations from AHLA partners ECPAT-USA and Polaris.

  • Strategic partnerships with leading national prevention partners including ECPAT-USA, Polaris, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), SafeHouse Project, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and many others.

  • Member Resource Guide that provides information on ways to implement the AHLA action plan, including where to access employee training and partner resources, downloadable signage, strategies to connect with law enforcement, ways to report instances of trafficking and how hotels can support survivors.

  • In addition, AHLA in partnership with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), will host a series of regional events throughout the year leading up to Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, to raise public awareness and facilitate collaboration with policymakers, law enforcement and hoteliers on best practices for policies, procedures and training to enhance our human trafficking prevention efforts.

On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, 2019, AHLA will launch a Member Day of Action, providing a social media platform for hoteliers across the country to showcase their participation in the No Room for Trafficking campaign by hosting employee training seminars, pledging to complete the AHLA Action Plan, and collaborating with national prevention partners to and helping to raise awareness.

“As the leading organization partnering with legislators and the corporate community to end exploitation, we are proud to partner with AHLA on the launch of their No Room for Trafficking campaign and commend their continued leadership on this issue. It’s crucial that the hospitality industry comes together to end human trafficking. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with AHLA to protect children from exploitation,” said Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA Director of Private Sector Engagement.

“The hospitality industry is playing a critical role in helping to disrupt human trafficking through prioritization of innovative training techniques and increased resources for employees. Polaris is proud to work alongside AHLA and the industry as a partner in the No Room for Trafficking campaign, building upon the industry’s work to ensure employees remain vigilant and have a deep understanding of the most up-to-date indicators to spot human trafficking,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris.

By partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, AHLA is working to bring together law enforcement and government officials to expand currently established relationships and enhance partnerships.

AHLA continues to broaden educational resources and partnerships to address employee and guest safety with wide-ranging national organizations that target sexual violence, sexual assault, trafficking and promote workplace safety, including ECPAT USA, Polaris, BEST National Sexual Violence Resource Center, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, DC Rape Crisis Center, National Domestic Violence Hotline, Peace Over Violence, RALIANCE, RAINN, Safe House Project, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.