Press Release

ECPAT-USA Endorses House Floor Vote

This afternoon in a floor vote of 388 to 25, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1865 the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act or (FOSTA). The bill reported out of the Judiciary Committee was strengthened by an amendment by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). This crucial amendment to the original bill by Rep. Ann Wagner, restores trafficking victims’ rights to pursue websites like Backpage.com for their role in human trafficking. The amendment also brings the House legislation more closely in line with the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA) legislation in the Senate, which has garnered 66 cosponsors and awaits a vote by the full Senate.  

“This has been a long journey for these victims. They have fought for years in the courts, and they have have spent years in the halls of Congress trying to get justice. This bill is a giant step forward for them and we will keep fighting until the President signs it into law.” — Carol Smolenski, Executive Director ECPAT-USA

ECPAT USA has been an early advocate for trafficking victims seeking their day in court. These efforts have been repeatedly stymied by websites relying on a loophole in the law referred to as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Federal Courts have called on the Congress to provide clarity to the law, and that is what the House has done today.

"For a very long time, Backpage has been making a tremendous profit from sexual abuse of countless women and children. It is imperative that Backpage is held accountable for its nefarious actions—that is justice for its victims." — Iryna, Survivor-advocate

 

ABOUT ECPAT-USA

ECPAT-USA is the leading 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 the ECPAT International network, with offices in 93 countries. For more information, visit ecpatusa.org.

ECPAT-USA and Marriott International Announce New Partnership to Protect Children from Trafficking

ECPAT-USA and Marriott International Announce New Partnership to Protect Children from Trafficking

ECPAT-USA, the country’s leading anti-child trafficking policy organization, announced a new partnership with global hospitality company Marriott International to combat and prevent human trafficking and exploitation in all forms. Marking National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Marriott International signed ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools, and support to the travel and hospitality industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.

Marriott Rewards Members Can Now Give Points to Support ECPAT-USA

Marriott Rewards Members Can Now Give Points to Support ECPAT-USA

CUSTOMERS CAN JOIN IN THE FIGHT AGAINST SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN

Members of the Marriott Rewards loyalty program will have the option to donate their points to ECPAT-USA to support the organization’s work in fighting the sexual exploitation of children and sex tourism around the world. ECPAT-USA will be featured on Giving.MarriottRewards.com, scheduled to launch on December 11th, which allows loyalty members to donate their points to select organizations reflective of the company’s recently launched sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction. The platform includes a new goal of training 100% of its people to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

“Hotels are critical partners in ending child sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation,” said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “We’re very grateful to Marriott for helping us turn our expertise into training for hotel employees so they can identify and take action against sex trafficking. And now we thank Marriott for giving their guests the opportunity to support ECPAT as part of their ongoing commitment to human rights and social responsibility.”

“Building off our 2007 Sustainability goals, Marriott is proud to issue our next generation of goals, inclusive of social and human rights targets to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Tricia Primrose, Global Chief Communications Officer at Marriott International and Serve 360 Executive Leadership Council Co-Chair. “Associates and customers want to work for and do business with a company that aligns with their values and drives positive community impact. We are proud to be part of the solution.”

 

ABOUT MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL

Marriott International, Inc. is a leading global lodging company with more than 6,400 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 126 countries and territories. Founded by J. Willard and Alice Marriott and guided by family leadership for over 90 years, Marriott embraces its global responsibility and unique opportunity to be a force for good. Guided by their 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Marriott commits to creating positive and sustainable impact wherever they do business.

 

ABOUT ECPAT-USA

ECPAT-USA is the leading 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 88 countries working together to protect every child’s basic human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

ECPAT-USA’s mission is to protect every child’s basic human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking. We envision a world in which no child is bought, sold, or used for sex. More than 25 years ago, ECPAT-USA became the first U.S.-based nonprofit to work on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT-USA started with sex tourism, helping to get legislation passed that ensured that Americans who traveled abroad to buy sex with minors could be prosecuted in the US for sexually exploiting children in other countries. Six of the ten largest international hotel chains—including Hilton, Wyndham and Hyatt--have signed on to ECPAT’s program to prevent sex tourism, as have Delta and American Airlines.

INTERPOL Honors ECPAT for Fighting Child Sexual Exploitation

ECPAT, a network of organizations including ECPAT-USA working to tackle the sexual exploitation of children, has been presented with a prestigious award by the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) at a ceremony held in Lyon, France today.

The “Crimes Against Children” Award from INTERPOL’s Crimes Against Children team recognizes the more than two decades that ECPAT has worked to prevent child sexual exploitation and advocate for its victims – particularly through programs to confront trafficking for sexual purposes; the exploitation of children through prostitution and pornography; online child sexual exploitation; and the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism sector.

“This award is a recognition of the excellent work done by ECPAT to end the sexual exploitation of children around the world,” said Bjorn Sellstrom, head of INTERPOL’s Crimes Against Children team. “We look forward to continuing our joint efforts with ECPAT to protect the most vulnerable members of society from abuse and further develop awareness of this global issue.”

Accepting the award, Dorothy Rozga, ECPAT’s Executive Director, paid tribute to the organization’s 103 members working in 93 countries. “Through research, advocacy, the provision of direct services to children, awareness raising and campaigning - members of the ECPAT network are making a positive difference to the lives of children. Due to the clandestine nature of child sexual exploitation, reliable data is difficult to come by. Nevertheless, we know that the number of victims is huge and that very often these children suffer in silence.” 

ECPAT-USA Executive Director Carol Smolenski said, "ECPAT is proud to receive this important award from INTERPOL. We work with stakeholders throughout the United States including law enforcement, the private  sector, legislators and policy makers and other NGOs. Last week, ECPAT-USA gave New York Police Department Commissioner James P. O’Neill its annual Defender Award for the big strides that the NYPD has made in protecting exploited children."

Rozga emphasized that over the years ECPAT has learned the importance of involving all stakeholders in addressing the crime of child sexual exploitation. “It is absolutely essential to adopt a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach,” she said. “We work with a wide range of actors, from the private sector - including hotels, Internet and tech companies, travel agents, airlines - to governments, the UN, and other NGOs. This is why we place such a high value on our collaboration with INTERPOL and other law enforcement agencies.”

Previous recipients of the award have included Mads Nielsen, a world leader in victim identification helped to safeguard hundreds of children, and Anders Persson, the father of the INTERPOL International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) image database. 

 

Background

ECPAT International works with INTERPOL on a range of projects to fight the sexual exploitation of children including by:

  •  Collaborating with the Crimes Against Children regional teams providing support on request
  • Helping INTERPOL to prepare confidential briefings for the Convention on the Rights of the Child – which has helped inform states on emerging issues
  • Serving alongside INTERPOL on a range of advisory boards, one of the most important being the We Protect Global Alliance – which is working worldwide to stop the crime of online child sexual abuse and exploitation.

 

About ECPAT

ECPAT International is a global network of organisations dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children. With 103 members in 93 countries, ECPAT focuses on the trafficking of children for sexual purposes; the exploitation of children through prostitution and pornography; online child sexual exploitation; and the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism sector. The ECPAT International Secretariat is based in Bangkok Thailand.

 

About ECPAT-USA

ECPAT-USA’s mission is to protect every child’s basic human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking. We envision a world in which no child is bought, sold, or used for sex. More than 25 years ago, ECPAT-USA became the first U.S.-based nonprofit to work on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children. ECPAT-USA started with sex tourism, helping to get legislation passed that ensured that Americans who traveled abroad to buy sex with minors could be prosecuted in the US for sexually exploiting children in other countries. Six of the ten largest international hotel chains—including Hilton, Wyndham and Hyatt—have signed on to ECPAT’s program to prevent sex tourism, as have Delta and American Airlines.

 

About INTERPOL

INTERPOL’s role is to enable police in our 192 member countries to work together to fight transnational crime and make the world a safer place. We maintain global databases containing police information on criminals and crime, and we provide operational and forensic support, analysis services and training. These policing capabilities are delivered worldwide and support three global programmes: counter-terrorism, cybercrime, and organized and emerging crime.

 

(PHOTO CREDIT: INTERPOL HQ)

ECPAT-USA Releases “No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers Impact Report”

Brooklyn, NY (Sept. 26, 2017) – ECPAT-USA released a report today: “No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers Impact Report: The Efficacy of ECPAT-USA’s Work to Prevent and Disrupt the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Hotels.” The report details the results of ECPAT-USA’s work with the travel and tourism industry to protect children from sex trafficking.

The first of it’s kind, the report shows what percentage of hotels in the United States have anti-trafficking training for their associates. Based on the findings of an evaluation study conducted by the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the report shows that half of all hotels in the U.S. have training about how to prevent and disrupt child sex trafficking and at least 35% of those have ECPAT-USA training, but there is still more work to be done.

“We are so proud of the progress that has been made with the hospitality industry but progress must continue,” said Michelle Guelbart, director of private sector engagement for ECPAT-USA and co-author of the report. “Hotels must mandate training across the board and ensure that this issue is institutionalized through new hire training.”

ECPAT-USA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create a world where no child is bought, sold or used for sex. The International Labor Organization estimates that nearly 21 million people around the world are trapped in modern day slavery. Youth are strategically targeted and manipulated by pimps who use hotel rooms as venues to abuse children, believing that systems are not in place to protect the victims. With the use of online classified ads, child trafficking is both on the streets and behind the closed doors of local hotel rooms.

ECPAT-USA released the report, which was co-authored by ECPAT-USA’s private sector engagement associate, Julia Wejchert, at a panel event at the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission. Carol Smolenski, ECPAT-USA’s executive director moderated the panel. Speakers included Michelle Guelbart, MSW, director of private sector engagement at ECPAT-USA and one of the report’s authors, Craig Kalkut, VP, government affairs at American Hotel and Lodging Association, Katrina Owens, survivor and founder of MPower Mentoring, and Faith Taylor, SVP, global corporate social responsibility at Wyndham Worldwide. The panel was co-sponsored by the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, The Salvation Army, and the UN Presbyterian Office.

To read the report, visit www.ecpatusa.org/novacancy.

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.