NGOs unite to call for an increased investment in prevention efforts to protect children from exploitation in ECPAT-USA’s response to the U.S. Government’s (USG) report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In partnership with 59 organizations, ECPAT-USA submitted the NGO Alternative Report, an assessment of the U.S. Government’s work to implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC). Continue reading
TraffickCam was developed by the social action organization Exchange Initiative and researchers at Washington University. The app is available for iPhone and iPad at the App Store (bit.ly/TraffickCamApp) and for Android devices at Google Play (bit.ly/TraffickCamAndroid).
Sex trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that forces children and adults to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Most victims are recruited when they are just 12 to 14 years old, coerced through drugs, violence, debt bondage and intimidation. According to UNICEF, at least 300,000 American children and 1.2 million children worldwide are sex trafficked each year.
TraffickCam allows any traveler with a smartphone to help fight sex trafficking by uploading photos of their hotel room to an enormous, constantly updated database of hotel room images. Federal, state and local law enforcement securely submit photos of sex trafficking victims posed in hotel rooms to TraffickCam. Features such as patterns in the carpeting, furniture, room accessories and window views are matched against the database of traveler images to provide law enforcement with a list of potential hotels where the photo may have been taken. Early testing showed that the app is 85 percent accurate in identifying the correct hotel in the top 20 matches.
Some of the results are not at all surprising. “Child sex worker” and “child prostitute” should never be used to describe exploited children. Both terms actually harm children because they shift the blame for the exploitation to the children themselves. But most of the report is devoted to defining the many terms and if and when they should be employed. The section describing the difference between “commercial sexual exploitation” and “sexual exploitation” of children is especially interesting. Continue reading
Global hospitality leader reinforces its commitment against the sexual exploitation of children alongside ECPAT USA by signing the Code of Conduct in the U.S. during Human Trafficking Awareness Month
AccorHotels North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NCAC) announced on Friday that it is reinforcing its commitment against the sexual exploitation of children by joining the efforts of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) in the U.S. by signing the Tourism Code of Conduct (The Code.) The U.S. is the 38th country in the AccorHotels network to sign The Code, an industry-driven initiative reinforced by UNICEF and The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
While we like to think that it doesn’t happen in the U.S., child sex trafficking happens every day in our country, states, and, sometimes, even in the city where we live. However, what we think of as child sex trafficking and what child sex trafficking looks like today can be quite different. Popular movies and even some PSAs have portrayed child sex trafficking usually as a stranger luring an unsuspecting child off the street into an unmarked van being taken into another state or even overseas. In fact, crossing a border or movement in general is not even necessary for child sex trafficking to occur.
ECPAT USA’s mission to end the sexual exploitation of children moves forward one donation at a time. This holiday season you and your organization can help fund our work by giving ECPAT Event Gifts that Give Back to your clients, colleagues, and family.
ECPAT’s luggage tags include an educational insert that explains the signs of human trafficking.
ECPAT gifts are all made in fair trade conditions in the Regina Center in Thailand. They benefit the women who made them and contribute to our mission to create a world where no child is bought, sold, or used for sex.
ECPAT-USA luggage tags were launched as a way to raise awareness of the issue among travelers. The distinctive design is a great conversation starter about the cause. Each tag also includes an insert that explains the signs of human trafficking in travel as well as the national human trafficking hotline to make a report. ECPAT luggage tags are $12 each and $60 for a set of five.
We also have ECPAT key chains, which, we like to say, are unlocking freedom for children. Each keychain is hand sewn with a unique design on the inside. Show your support for ECPAT’s mission in an easy and trendy way. ECPAT Key Chains are $5 each and $25 for a set of 5.
To purchase these or other products or to learn how leading meeting companies are making a commitment to ECPAT USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, visit http://www.http://www.ecpatusa.org.
Cornell Study Focuses on Ending Human Trafficking
Image removed by sender. red barIthaca, NY, October 15, 2015 – Throughout the world, human traffickers use hotels and other hospitality locations to kidnap and exploit their victims, many of whom are children. A new report from the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration calls on the industry to fight back against trafficking of children. In the report, “Adopting the Code: Human Trafficking and the Hospitality Industry,” Michele Sarkisian outlines the dimensions of the problem and gives specific strategies for ending this practice. Sarkisian is president of P3 Advisors, and a CHR research fellow. The report is available from CHR at no charge.
“The hospitality industry can take an important stand against trafficking by adopting The Code, which commits a firm to six specific steps intended to stop traffickers,” said Sarkisian. “The key is to train employees to observe and report the signs of trafficking, particularly focusing on the exploitation of children. The more hotel and hospitality firms that support The Code, the more traffickers will be identified and stopped.”
The Code’s six steps are: (1) Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children; (2) Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation, and how to report suspected cases; (3) Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children; (4) Provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children, and how to report suspected cases; (5) Support, collaborate, and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children; and (6) Report annually on your implementation of The Code.
Such large hospitality firms as Delta Airlines, Hilton Worldwide, Carlson–Rezidor, Wyndham Worldwide, and Maritz Travel Company have signed The Code, and Sarkisian notes that an increasing number of groups and single travelers now seek out hotels that have anti-trafficking policies.
Image removed by sender. red barAbout the Center for Hospitality Research
The purpose of the Center for Hospitality Research is to enable and conduct research of significance to the global hospitality and related service industries. The CHR also works to improve the connections between academe and industry, continuing the School of Hotel Administration’s long-standing tradition of service to the hospitality industry. Founded in 1992, CHR remains the industry’s foremost creator and distributor of timely research, all of which is posted at no charge for all to use. In addition to its industry advisory board, the CHR convenes several industry roundtables each year for the purpose of identifying new issues affecting the hospitality industry.
Center Members: Accenture, Access Point Financial, Cvent, Inc., Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, Duetto, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, Hilton Worldwide, Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Infosys Limited, Intel Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, Marriott International, Inc., priceline.com, PwC, The Rainmaker Group, RateGain, ReviewPro, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Talent Plus, Inc., Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., TripAdvisor, Wipro EcoEnergy, and Wyndham Hotel Group
ECPAT-USA Releases First-Ever Guide to States to Stop Child Sex Trafficking Victims From Falling Through Cracks
New Steps to Safety Report Guides States in Best Practices for Enacting Safe Harbor
Laws for Child Sex Trafficking Victims
New York, NY – September 30, 2015 – ECPAT-USA, the USA division of a global nonprofit working to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children, is today releasing a first-of-its- kind report called Steps to Safety to protect thousands of children who become victims of sex trafficking each year in the United States. Addressing the disconnect between national and state laws, ECPAT-USA developed this comprehensive report to arm states with guidelines to develop their own Safe Harbor law to move sex trafficking victims out of jails and into care. “The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was a great start yet unfortunately doesn’t protect many victims, as the majority of cases are handled at the state level,” says Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “Child sex trafficking victims are falling through the cracks in every state and often end up in jail, and this report is an important step in turning Steps to Safety provides a detailed checklist for states to enact or improve its Safe Harbor law.
Recommendations for a successful Safe Harbor law at the state level include:
- Classify victims as abused children and therefore immune from prosecution. Sadly, 1,000 children under the age of 18 were arrested in 2011 for prostitution, according to the Department of Justice.
- Ensure the state has services in place to help victims with financial compensation, housing, education and more.
- Ensure local law enforcement and teachers are able to help spot victims and provide necessary assistance.
- Permit victims to obtain a court order vacating and expunging criminal convictions that were entered while they were being trafficked.
“The ECPAT-USA report on Safe Harbor laws will help states increase protections effectively for children, who have been commercially sexually exploited. If these laws had been in place when I had been trafficked as a young teen, I might have had an easier time overcoming such victimization,” said Holly Austin Smith, sex trafficking victim and author of Walking Prey: How America’s Youth are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery. The report covers 19 states and the District of Columbia with recommendations for Safe Harbor laws. Currently, laws vary from state to state – some with minimalistic laws like Connecticut and Tennessee, while others have highly detailed laws like Michigan, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Delaware. This report will help ensure each state has a detailed and comprehensive law in place, and ECPAT-USA will offer support and guidance to lawmakers to help make this a reality.
“Research, academic studies and on-the-ground experience all show that Safe Harbor laws are the most effective way to bring exploited children out of the shadows and make sure traffickers are brought to justice,” says Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN). “The focus should now be on educating policymakers, prosecutors, and law enforcement on the need for safe harbor provisions to combat sex trafficking in their communities and states. Steps to Safety will be a useful tool for advocates and legislators to use as they seek the best methods to protect victims
To learn more and view the Steps to Safety report, please visit www.http://www.ecpatusa.org/safeharbor.
- Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA (New York)
- Faiza Mathon-Mathieu, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, ECPAT- USA (Washington D.C.)
- Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
ECPAT is an international network comprised of over 80 organizations, represented in 75 countries. ECPAT-USA is recognized as one of the primary organizations focused on ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children and is the American affiliate of the international ECPAT network. ECPAT-USA works every day to ensure that no child is bought, sold or used for sex. ECPAT-USA undertakes policy and legislative advocacy, corporate social responsibility, research, training, educational initiatives, along with raising awareness that children are commercially sexually exploited here in the US. http://www.http://www.ecpatusa.org/
For more information, please contact:
Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA
Faiza Mathon-Mathieu, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, ECPAT-USA
Jeannie Evanchan, PR for ECPAT-USA