Private Sector Engagement

ECPAT-USA, U.S. Department of Transportation Pledge to End Human Trafficking

This month, ECPAT-USA signed onto the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT) initiative to bring together stakeholders in the transportation and travel industry to fight trafficking and exploitation. As a partner in this campaign, ECPAT-USA has committed to educating employees, raising awareness and measuring our collective impact in the fight to protect children across the country.

Launched in 2012, DOT’s TLAHT initiative works with public and private sector stakeholders to empower transportation employees and the traveling public to recognize and report possible instances of human trafficking. TLAHT’s five focus areas include industry leadership, industry training, and education, policy development, public awareness, and information-sharing and analysis. DOT calls on transportation leaders to sign the TLAHT pledge, issue a leadership statement, train employees, and raise public awareness.

Last October, ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement, Michelle Guelbart, was appointed to the United States Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking. Guelbart was one of 15 individuals to serve on the committee that provided information, advice, and recommendations to the DOT on matters relating to the intersection of human trafficking and transportation.

“Through our decades-long work with the private sector and with government officials, we have seen the progress that can be made when industries unite to work together toward one common goal: protecting every child’s right to grow up free from the fear of exploitation,” said Guelbart. “We are proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation on their Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking.”

“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, the DOT is empowering transportation organizations, employees and the traveling public with the knowledge to recognize and report suspected instances of human trafficking. This TLAHT partnership is an impressive step forward, one that highlights the dedication of this community in taking a stand to end human trafficking. It will make a difference in many lives,” said David Short, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs.

To learn more about our work with the private sector click here.

ECPAT-USA Presents at Texas Businesses Against Trafficking Panel at Texas State Capitol

ECPAT-USA’s Director of Private Sector Engagement, Michelle Guelbart was invited to speak on a panel of non-profit organizations at Texas Businesses Against Trafficking (TBAT) Partnership Forum, hosted by the Texas Secretary of State's Office. The office of Texas Secretary of State, Ruth R. Hughs, who has been a huge supporter and leader in efforts to engage businesses on the issue, organized the event.

In 2016, the Secretary of State established a human trafficking prevention business partnership under Texas government code. 

The event opened with Toni McKinley, M.A., L.P.C., a trauma counselor working with survivors of sex trafficking, speaker, and trainer, giving an eye-opening and informative background of the issue. 

Along with Guelbart, the non-profit panel included Bill Clark, Chief Advancement Officer for A21 , Noel Mendoza, Director of Human Trafficking Outreach for Mosaic and Kim Robinson, CEO for New Friends New Life. This panel was moderated by Julian Alvarez III, Texas’ Commissioner Representing Labor.

Guelbart shared information about ECPAT-USA, the importance of engaging businesses, and gave background about ECPAT-USA’s Y-ACT program run by ECPAT-USA’s Youth Outreach Manager, Kyra Wooden. 

Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs, left, and Michelle Guelbart.

Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs, left, and Michelle Guelbart.

“It takes an honest look for businesses to not just philanthropically support organizations like ours (which IS incredibly important) but to also adjust the operations that make them susceptible to being used by exploiters,” said Guelbart. “Adopting anti-trafficking policies, implement training, putting together corporate task forces on the issue is important. It is also important to engage employees-- through volunteer opportunities, brown bag sessions, and encouraging them to get involved locally. All of this can drive a corporate commitment against human trafficking home to front-line employees who might see exploitation.”

When speaking about Y-ACT, Guelbart shared the following: “ECPAT-USA recognizes pre-teens and adolescents as the key stakeholders of the movement to end the sexual exploitation of children. This population is often excluded from the conversation and with this in mind, we created the Youth Against Child Trafficking program (Y-ACT). In doing so, we seek to include and amplify the voices of the most vulnerable group – young people.”

The private sector panel held after the nonprofit panel was again moderated by Mr. Alvarez and included Patrick Sanders, Director & Senior Attorney – Government Contracts and Compliance for American Airlines, Hitesh Patel for AHOA, Ama Romaine, General Counsel for G6 Hospitality, and Michael Hanson, Senior Director, Government & External Affairs for Sabre Corporation.

The event was sponsored by ECPAT-USA partners, AHLA and Sabre.

Wyndham Destinations Becomes First Timeshare Company to Commit to ECPAT Code to End Human Trafficking

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 14, 2019– Wyndham Destinations (NYSE:WYND), the world’s largest vacation ownership and exchange company, today became the first timeshare company to sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct with ECPAT-USA. The formal agreement solidifies the commitment Wyndham Destinations has previously made at its 225 managed vacation club resorts in North America, the Caribbean, and Asia Pacific to combat human trafficking. By signing the agreement, the company joins many of the major hotel chains in actively protecting children from exploitation.

Corporate partners help mitigate the risks associated with a crime that affects millions of youth worldwide. By signing The Code and joining ECPAT-USA in the fight against trafficking, organizations become part of the ECPAT-USA family of advocates, who are all making critical headway toward ending child slavery at the source.

Michael D. Brown President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Wyndham Destinations, left, and Michelle Guelbart sign The Code.

Michael D. Brown President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Wyndham Destinations, left, and Michelle Guelbart sign The Code.

As the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children, ECPAT-USA focuses on awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of ECPAT International, a network of organizations in 95 countries working together toward one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children.

Traffickers are known to use hotels, airlines, and other travel infrastructure to exploit or transport their victims. Hotels can play a key role in preventing and disrupting the commercial sexual exploitation of children by training employees to recognize and report suspected incidents to the appropriate authorities.

James Savina, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Wyndham Destinations, from left, Michael D. Brown President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Wyndham Destinations, Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA, Kimberly Marshall, Chief Human Resources Officer for Wyndham Destinations

James Savina, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Wyndham Destinations, from left, Michael D. Brown President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Wyndham Destinations, Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA, Kimberly Marshall, Chief Human Resources Officer for Wyndham Destinations

This year, Wyndham Destinations produced its first Social Responsibility Report, including a Human Rights Policy Statement, in which the company pledges to operate in a manner consistent with the principles contained in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

“Wyndham Destinations is committed to protecting human rights within our sphere of influence and doing our part to combat all forms of human trafficking,” said James Savina, general counsel and corporate secretary of Wyndham Destinations. “The travel and tourism industry has an important role in preventing the exploitation of children. By partnering with ECPAT and promoting required training and education to associates globally, we have taken a stand against the commercial sexual exploitation of children.”

“We are excited to announce this new partnership with Wyndham Destinations,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. “As the first timeshare company to join The Code, Wyndham Destinations is helping to engage with a previously untapped sector of the travel industry in the fight to protect children from trafficking and exploitation.”

By signing The Code, Wyndham Destinations commits to making progress around six essential steps to keep children safe. The company will: Establish a Policy and procedures; Train employees; Include a clause in contracts; Provide information to travelers; Support, collaborate & engage stakeholders; and Annually report progress on The Code to ECPAT.

How You Can Stamp Out Exploitation On Your Next Trip

For many people, booking a vacation is all about finding the best deal. Whether it’s an affordable flight or half-price last-minute hotel room, travelers want to feel that they’ve saved money - but sometimes that also means forgetting about the hidden costs of the industry.

For decades, traffickers have used the travel industry to their own advantage - using airlines to move victims to and from locations or using hotels to set up encounters between victims and those individuals purchasing sex. But we, as travelers, can take a stand against the trafficking of millions across the globe. 

Through traveling with airlines that have trained their employees on how to identify trafficking or booking with tour companies that have procedures in place to respond to suspicious incidents, we can each do our part to stamp out exploitation.

Our latest report, Stamping Out Exploitation in Travel is a comprehensive look at how 70 companies in various sectors of the travel and hospitality industry are fighting human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The report establishes a way to measure progress, identifies the baseline for their engagement, and highlights best practices to encourage cross-learning within the travel industry.

For example, Delta’s News Hub Website contains numerous articles discussing human trafficking, spreading awareness about the issue, and engaging its passengers to join the fight. Caesars Entertainment’s publicly available “Commitment to Responsible Conduct" includes a response protocol to help associates appropriately report suspected instances of trafficking. By promoting the app TraffickCam, Maritz enables their team to help combat trafficking by uploading photos of the hotel rooms they stay in when they travel. The app helps law enforcement by helping to create a database of photos that can be compared to photo evidence during investigations of suspected human trafficking.

Every time you choose a hotel, airline or tour company, it is an opportunity to use your purchasing power for good—to help stop child sex trafficking. By spending your travel dollars with a member of the industry that is working to protect children, you can help give a child something invaluable -  the chance to grow up free from sexual exploitation and trafficking. 

To learn more about traveling responsibly, read our full report and visit our responsible traveler page.

ECPAT-USA Releases Benchmarking Report Measuring How The Travel Industry Is Continuing To Fight Trafficking

The report is a comprehensive study of 70 companies in the industry

BROOKLYN, NY (September 27, 2019) -- In recognition of World Tourism Day, ECPAT-USA is launching its latest report today that details how different sectors in the travel and tourism are working to protect children. Stamping Out Exploitation in Travel is a benchmarking report that presents key findings and themes from a study of 70 companies in the travel industry on their initiatives to fight human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The report establishes a way to measure progress, identifies the baseline for their engagement, and highlights best practices to encourage cross-learning within the travel industry.

The private sector plays a major role in ensuring that profits do not come at the expense of children. Especially in the travel and hospitality industry, there is both a great responsibility and opportunity to ensure associates have the knowledge and resources to address human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. 

“Since ECPAT-USA started working with the travel industry on this issue over ten years ago, we have been incredibly proud of the way our partners have stepped up and taken concrete steps to protect children from trafficking and exploitation,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. “We believe Stamping Out Exploitation in Travel will help us measure improvements in policies and procedures aimed at ending sex trafficking and promote best practices across all sectors of the industry in order to work together to ensure every child’s right to grow up free from exploitation.”

Key Report Findings:

  • The travel industry’s average score on their Stamping out Exploitation in Travel efforts is 38%. The score is based on a comprehensive analysis, by ECPAT-USA, of all policies and practices that prevent and respond to human trafficking and exploitation.

  • Companies that partner with ECPAT-USA and are members of The Code have an average score of 47%, which is 31% higher than non-Code members who average 16%.

  • The 8 industries of Stamping out Exploitation in Travel analyzed by ECPAT-USA were:

    • Associations

    • Aviation (Airlines, Airports)

    • Conferences & Meeting Management

    • Franchised Hospitality (Hotel Brands, Gaming/Casino)

    • Owned & Managed Hospitality (Hotel Management Companies, Single Property Hotels)

    • Sharing Economy (Rideshare, Home-share)

    • Tour Companies

    • Travel Management Companies

On average, the Aviation sector scored the highest, followed closely by Travel Management Companies. 

  • The four categories of Stamping out Exploitation in Travel analyzed by ECPAT-USA were:

    • Policies and Procedures

    • Implementation

    • Contracts

    • Transparency and Reporting

  • 60% of companies are actively engaging with law enforcement, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and governments on the issue.

  • Although great strides have also been made in recent years to train employees on human trafficking risks and how to respond, only one-third of companies surveyed provided training to their associates in the last twelve months, and less than half explained their training initiatives directly in policy or procedural documents.

  • Over 70% of companies have an anti-human trafficking policy that has been established, communicated to their associates and is publicly available.

The full report is available at www.ecpatusa.org/stampingout.


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.

Carina_August 2017_imex466print (2).jpg

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.