ECPAT-USA and 59 organizations join together to call for increased investment in prevention to protect children from exploitation

ECPAT-USA and 59 organizations join together to call for increased investment in prevention to protect children from exploitation

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

Travelers use TraffickCam app to fight sex trafficking by uploading hotel room photos to national database

Travelers use TraffickCam app to fight sex trafficking by uploading hotel room photos to national database
ST. LOUIS, MO – Travelers can help in the fight against sex trafficking by using a new, free mobile app called TraffickCam to anonymously photograph hotel rooms and upload data to a national database used by law enforcement and investigators to locate victims and their pimps.

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.
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Creating a Common Language to Address Child Sexual Exploitation

Creating a Common Language to Address Child Sexual Exploitation
“Words matter.” So begins the newest ECPAT publication, Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, analyzing the terms that should be and should not be used to describe the various ways that children are sexually abused and exploited. The report is the consensus of an international working group that grappled with both new terms (such as ”live streaming of online sexual abuse”) and old terms (“child prostitution”) that are used in our advocacy work aimed at protecting children. It takes a children’s rights approach to analyzing the words and discusses how they are embedded in international treaties and agreements, states’ laws and how they are generally understood by the public.
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

UBER SIGNS TOURISM CHILD-PROTECTION CODE OF CONDUCT, JOINING ECPAT-USA IN PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING

Uber Signs The CodeECPAT-USA UBER Logos

UBER SIGNS TOURISM CHILD-PROTECTION CODE OF CONDUCT, JOINING ECPAT-USA IN PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING
New York, NY (April 20, 2016) – ECPAT-USA is proud to announce a partnership with Uber Technologies Inc. to take a stand against the commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) for initial implementation in the United States.
The Code is an internationally accepted industry-driven corporate social responsibility framework that helps companies in the travel and tourism industry. The Code’s six guidelines require companies to put in place policies and programs to protect children from sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Prior to joining The Code, Uber expanded their Code of Conduct to prohibit all forms of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Uber will continue to build their commitment to protect children and offer resources to drivers and report annually on their Code implementation.
“As soon as Uber’s Safety team learned about the role they could play in protecting children, they knew they had to get involved.” said Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT-USA. “Uber demonstrated a genuine commitment to protecting children and preventing their exploitation.”
“Uber is committed to safety in the communities we serve and we want to do our part to help put an end to the transportation of trafficked children,” said Niki Christoff Head of Federal Affairs for Uber. “By partnering with ECPAT-USA, we are taking steps to promote awareness and educate drivers who sign up on our platform about this important issue.”
Uber and ECPAT-USA will be joined in Washington D.C. by anti-trafficking advocates Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who will provide remarks and witness the signing of The Code commitment.
For additional information about the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct and how your company can be involved, visit www.ecpatusa.org/code.
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 73 countries. For more information, visit www.ecpatusa.org/code or contact Michelle Guelbart at (718) 935-9192 or michelle@ecpatusa.org.

Be in it to END IT with ECPAT-USA on 2.25.2016

Be in it to END IT with ECPAT-USA on 2.25.2016
ECPAT-USA is excited to announce that we will partnering with the END IT Movement for the third year in a row to shine a light on modern day slavery. On February 25, organizations, individuals and companies around the world will join in an awareness campaign on Twitter and Facebook to let people know that slavery is real, but together, we can end it. Continue reading

ACCORHOTELS SIGNS THE CODE IN THE U.S. TO COMBAT CHILD ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING

ACCORHOTELS SIGNS THE CODE IN THE U.S. TO COMBAT CHILD ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING

accor signing

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).
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You’re Doing It Wrong: the Definition of Child Sex Trafficking

You’re Doing It Wrong: the Definition of Child Sex Trafficking

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.

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Give an Event Gift That Can Help to Save a Child

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.

http://meetingsnet.com/merchandisegift-cards/give-event-gift-can-help-save-child

Cornell Study Focuses on Ending Human Trafficking

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

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
718-935-9192, csmolenski@http://www.ecpatusa.org

Faiza Mathon-Mathieu, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, ECPAT-USA
786-512-3919, fmathonmathieu@http://www.ecpatusa.org

Jeannie Evanchan, PR for ECPAT-USA
317-385-5752, jeannie@praytellstrategy.com