This Wednesday NPR’s Marketplace explored the American hotel industry’s role in fighting child sex trafficking. Carol Smolenski, ECPAT-USA’s Executive Director explained that sexually exploited girls are often forced to work out of or in hotels, some never leaving the confined walls of the room. In response, the hotel industry began implementing the ECPAT Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, a set of business principles that guides companies in their efforts to protect children.
The story goes on to interview Nix Conference and Meeting Management, a recent signatory to the Code. They spoke of their groundbreaking and unconventional work in engaging local properties in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation on their properties. Kimberly Ritter showed NPR how she literally identifies hotel properties in the background of online classified ads selling young girls, proving to general managers that sex trafficking does in fact happen at their hotels.
Other interviewees include Sister Patty Johnson from the Sisters of St. Joseph, Noelle Collins U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Katie Rhoades Executive Director of Healing Action Network, and Molly Hackett of Nix Conference and Meeting Management, who mentioned that after their company facilitated the Code signing of the Millennium Hotel St. Louis, a sex trafficker tweeted that exploiters should go elsewhere because the Millennium was not a safe-haven for their abuse.
Check out the full story, including full audio: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/hotels-urged-help-fight-sex-trafficking
To get more involved with the ECPAT Code, visit: http://ecpatusa.org/take-action/promote-the-code