Elevate Destinations Joins ECPAT’s Fight Against Child Trafficking

Elevate Destinations Joins ECPAT’s Fight Against Child Trafficking

by Signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct

(Boston, January 13, 2015) – Elevate Destinations will join ECPAT-USA in efforts to end child slavery and

trafficking by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). Elevate Destinations is

the sixth tour company in the United States to sign The Code. The Code is a set of guidelines, which

travel and tourism companies agree to implement to prevent instances of child sex trafficking. As a

signatory of The Code, Elevate Destinations will encourage travelers and suppliers to increase their

efforts to protect children from trafficking.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of slavery

worldwide. At least 100,000 of those victims are American children that are commercially sexually

exploited, while another 200,000–300,000 are at risk each year. Thousands of children are trafficked

into the U.S. each year for sex and labor.

“We welcome Elevate Destinations into the family of companies implementing The Code,” said Carol

Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “Their efforts will send a strong signal to traffickers and

exploiters that their behavior is unacceptable to the tourism industry.”

temp-post-imageKatherine Redington: Associate Director, Program Development Elevate Destinations

“We are a company that takes the protection of a destination’s environment, economy, culture, and

people seriously,” states Katherine Redington, Elevate Destinations’ Director of Donor Travel. “By

becoming a member of The Code, we are more closely aligning our company’s values with our local

impact. We invite our industry partners to join us in the effort to protect people and places around the

As a signatory of The Code, Elevate Destinations will support a policy against the sexual exploitation of

children, educate their travelers, raise awareness on the topic, train their ground suppliers, provide safe

resources for reporting trafficking, and provide an annual report for The Code.

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 78 countries. For more information visit

Elevate Destinations is a leader in eco luxury travel, creating new ways for travelers to make a difference

worldwide. The company was founded and operates as a social enterprise: philanthropy and positive

social and environmental impact are key to their mission. Elevate Destinations has pioneered the field of

donor travel and is able to provide responsible travel to any region of the globe. They encourage people

to travel sustainably and design each trip conscientiously, facilitating travelers to fully experience,

understand and protect destinations and the people who live there. http://elevatedestinations.com/


Become an intern at ECPAT USA!!

Internship Openings

Private Sector Intern: The Private Sector Intern will work with our Director of Private Sector Engagement to support ECPAT-USA’s efforts in engaging and supporting companies in the child protection. Most efforts will be focused on engaging the travel and tourism industry. We will be selecting two private sector interns, one to focus on technology and one to focus on tourism. Please specify your interest.

Development Intern: The Development Intern will assist ECPAT-USA staff in all aspects of donor communications, donor and corporate research, database management, special events, marketing, communications, and other projects as needed. The intern will report to the Development Associate.

Grants and Development Intern: ECPAT-USA is seeking a motivated and qualified individual to fulfill a meaningful role, assisting us in grant funding for our anti-trafficking work. In this position the individual will undertake grant research and proposal writing. In addition, the Grants and Development Intern will assist ECPAT-USA staff in all aspects of grants and corporate research, database management, special events, marketing, communications, and other projects as needed. The intern will report to the Development Associate.

Youth and Education Development Intern: The youth intern will work with our State Policy and Youth Coordinator to support ECPAT-USA’s efforts in developing and engaging the school community in anti-trafficking education and prevention efforts. Most efforts will be focused on making additions to our youth toolkit for middle schools and high schools, creating relationships between ECPAT-USA and key stakeholders in the Education sector, fostering relationships between ECPAT-USA and the United Nations, and developing projects for our Youth sector.

Please specify which position you are applying for and email cover letter and resume to info@http://www.ecpatusa.org

ECPAT-USA is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a work environment free from discrimination.

National Educators to Stop Trafficking (NEST) names ECPAT-USA as the Curriculum Provider of the Month for January


ECPAT-USA is empowering youth to take the lead in anti-human trafficking efforts. Our

Empowering Youth to Take the Lead Toolkit and Curriculum was chosen as National Educators

to Stop Trafficking (NEST)’s Curriculum of the Month for January! We are proud to be

represented with NEST, whose mission statement is “to get human trafficking prevention

education in every school… in the United States that empowers and equips youth with the

knowledge and skills to stand up against sex trafficking…”

ECPAT’s Empowering Youth to Take the Lead Toolkit is designed to involve our primary

stakeholders, America’s children, in advocating against sexual exploitation and trafficking by

training them to be the foremost advocates in their communities. In addition to educating youth

on the facts, misconceptions, and risks of trafficking, we provide them with the tools needed to

identify the warning signs and proper resources to protect themselves and their peers. Where

there is education, there is empowerment, and through this Toolkit, youth are able to use their

voice and knowledge to educate and empower others about the issue. This Toolkit is a peer-to-

peer learning model, as we have found it is much more effective for youth to learn from their

peers. The Toolkit was created with three ideas in mind: Prevention, Education, and

Empowerment. There are four separate sessions, with interactive activities for youth to

participate. The sessions include Child Sex Trafficking in America, Popular Culture and Gender

Inequality, Internet Safety, and Empowering Individuals and Your Community. There is also a

section on Demand.

We have implemented the Toolkit in several middle and high schools throughout the New York

area, and it has been incredibly successful thus far.

If you are interested in adapting the Toolkit for your school, please contact ECPAT’s Youth

Outreach Manager, Genna Goldsobel, at genna@http://www.ecpatusa.org or 718-935-9192.

Prevention begins with Education.

End of Year Message from ECPAT-USA’s Executive Director

Carol Smolenski, Executive Director, ECPAT-USA

End of Year Message

December 31, 2014

As the New Year is upon us, I find myself pondering the past. Despite the gravity of this work, I

have always been an optimist in the movement to protect every child’s right to grow up free from

commercial sexual exploitation.

One of the movement’s biggest hurdles has been the often-unspoken but fundamental belief held

by many that commercial sexual exploitation of children will always exist, and there is nothing

we can do about it. ECPAT-USA exists to undermine these old understandings and to confront

the passive acceptance of this human rights abuse.

I have seen firsthand how very far we have come from when I first started working on this issue

more than 20 years ago. Back then, there was little recognition that child sex trafficking even

existed either abroad or in the United States. There was limited legislation to protect children

and even less legislation aimed at the effective prosecution of exploiters. The business sector was

absent from the movement, unaware of the role it could play in the battle. There was no training

available for first responders, such as child welfare workers or law enforcement, to recognize and

appropriately respond to victims. And there were few services available for victims and their

families. Child victims were often blamed and condemned for their own victimization. Children

were unaware of the giant sex industry seeking to exploit their vulnerabilities; nor were they

aware of their own power to fight it.

Awareness- raising and training are happening across the country and indeed around the globe.

Governments, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and youth themselves are all now

actively involved in learning about and working to stop child sex trafficking and other forms of

commercial sexual exploitation of children. Thirty-nine U.S. companies have signed our

Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct and more than 100,000 people in the travel industry

have been trained. Landmark legislation has become law, such as the federal Trafficking Victims

Protection Act in 2000 and, more recently, the Identifying and Protecting Children and Youth at

Risk of Sex Trafficking Act. There are now hundreds of shelter beds and services available for

commercially sexually exploited youth in the U.S. And young people themselves are standing up

and speaking out for their rights.

This change has truly been remarkable to witness. However, we must continue to gauge the

success of our work. Have we truly succeeded in subverting those institutions, customs, and

traditions that support this abominable practice both in the U.S. and in other countries? There

still exists so much child exploitation.

  • Children are still being arrested for their own victimization in the adult sex market. The

ever growing sex industry has become more anonymous, with the internet facilitating the

exploitation of young adolescents drawn in to meet the huge demand. When these

children are found, they can be arrested, demonized and blamed for their abuse. In fact,

only 19 states have laws that recognize child sex trafficked youth as victims rather than

  • There are still too few shelters and safe havens for children because we have not been

willing to adequately fund this basic protection. When the shelters are full, homeless and

runaway youth have nowhere to turn at night when they are cold and hungry. They are

extremely vulnerable to someone who offers them a meal and a warm bed in exchange

  • Children continue to be sexually abused in their homes and communities. They are

further victimized when images of the abuse (commonly called child pornography) are

circulated on the Internet, sold by exploiters and shared around the world. Despite it

being a multi-million dollar business, victims themselves do not receive the restitution

they are entitled to for their own healing.

No child, under any circumstances, under any economic system, nor in any society, should be

sold for sex. No person, anywhere, should be able to get away with buying or selling children for

sex. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, it

never will.” In 2015, we at ECPAT-USA recommit all our energy to the struggle for every

child’s right to grow up free from commercial sexual exploitation.

Personally, I remain optimistic. Please join us at ECPAT-USA in making many more great

changes in the world.

Sabre’s Passport to Freedom Survivor Scholarship



On January 5, applications will open for Sabre’s Passport to Freedom Survivor Scholarship – a fund created especially for human trafficking survivors. In partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, this fund was created to help make post-secondary education and vocational training more attainable for survivors of sex and labor trafficking and pave the way for secure and sustainable employment opportunities.

We invite you to review our scholarship application guide and determine if this scholarship program is something that could help your client survivors in their pursuit of job opportunities and education. We are also compiling an FAQ document to assist applicants in the process.

After you have reviewed the guide, I would greatly appreciate your feedback and questions via email. Your input will help us finalize the guide and FAQs so they cover the key points for those who plan to apply.

Scholarship applications will be accepted from Jan. 5—Mar. 12, 2015. Selection criteria and information on the scholarship program is available atwww.sabre.com/ptf/scholarships if you’d like more information.

Thank you in advance for your time, support and insight to help make this program a success.


Jennifer Barkley Corporate Responsibility Manager Sabre 682/605-6357

ECPAT 6th Annual International Assembly

ECPAT groups gathered in Roissy, France for the ECPAT 6th International Assembly

[http://ecpat.net/news/6th-ecpat-international-assembly] on December 1-2. Every 3 years, all the

ECPAT groups meet to set new directions, approve policies for the international movement, elect

the International Board of Trustees and share experiences.

This was the first Assembly since the new leadership team of Dorothy Rozga, Executive

Director, and Carol Bellamy, Chair of the Board took over last year. Their leadership and

commitment to protecting the world’s children have reinvigorated ECPAT and focused the

movement on new directions for our collaborative work around the globe.

During the Assembly, members of the network met in regional groupings. ECPAT is not (yet)

in every country, but we are in every region. [link: http://ecpat.net/where-we-are] So

strengthening the regional work was one of the keynotes of the assembly.

We learned more about the Global Study on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in

Travel and Tourism that was recently announced. [link: http://ecpat.net/news/announcement-

global-study-and-its-taskforce-end-sexual-exploitation-children-travel-and-tourism] This study

will include country studies, a review of existing literature as well as case studies. It will be

overseen by an international advisory group of experts. The result of the study will be an

Advocacy Agenda for the ECPAT movement.

The new Board of Trustees was elected for a three-year term. ECPAT-USA’s Executive

Director was elected to represent the North America region.

It was an exciting opportunity for all ECPAT groups to discuss our common mission to protect

every child’s right to grow up free from commercial sexual exploitation. Dorothy Rozga

described for us what the world would look like without commercial sexual exploitation of


It would… be a world where perpetrators are stopped and if necessary locked away, and victims

are lovingly cared for and rehabilitated from physical and mental trauma they have suffered. But

our vision goes further, to a world where the foundations are in place to prevent this horrific

violation of human rights. It is a world where abusers are stopped, where there is no way and no

place for them to hide – where every country – no exceptions – has laws in place, backed by the

necessary resources, to protect its children. It is a world where punishment for those who violate

those laws is swift and certain. It is a world where no child is lost to the predators as a result of

family poverty and stress…a world where strong social and child protection systems are always

there to pull them back from the abyss. It is a world where children understand the dangers of

the parallel universe of the internet, and can distinguish between a real friend and a random

stranger on their laptop.

As a movement, with new strong leadership, new resources and new commitment we are

launched on our mission to create this new world, together with partners around the world.



Vantage Hospitality Group Joins the Fight Against Child Sex Trafficking by Signing the Tourism Child-

Protection Code of Conduct


(LAS VEGAS – December 11, 2014) – Vantage Hospitality Group, Inc., a Top 10 hotel company with over

1,000 independently owned and operated hotels around the globe, joined ECPAT-USA in the fight

against child sex slavery at the source by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The


The Code is a set of guidelines travel and tourism companies implement to put in place policies and

programs to prevent and react to instances of child sex trafficking. Vantage Hospitality Founder,

President & CEO Roger Bloss and COO/CFO Bernie Moyle officially signed The Code at Vantage’s annual

International Educational Conference & Trade Show on December 11 in Las Vegas. Vantage joins over 30

industry leaders in the United States by signing The Code.

In the United States, at least 100,000 American children are trafficked within our own borders and

another 200,000–300,000 are at risk each year. Globally, there are 21 million people around the world

enslaved. With the growing use of the Internet as a tool for the recruitment and sale of children, child

trafficking is moving off the streets. Traffickers move across cities and countries using air and ground

transportation companies and use hotels as venues to abuse victims, without the knowledge of owners.

The travel and tourism industry is one of a few industries that come across these victims.

Vantage’s signing will help to change this — when the travel sector and traveling public are trained to

identify instances of trafficking, exploiters no longer feel anonymous and risk-free when they exploit


“As business owners, community members and fellow human beings, it is our job to put a stop to the

horrific crime of sex trafficking. Hotel owners are uniquely situated to identify this crime and until there

is no longer a need for The Code, we will encourage our members to become educated about this issue

and work with their local law enforcement to put an end to this exploitation,” said Bloss.

As a signatory of The Code, Vantage will create a policy against the sexual exploitation of children, raise

awareness among its members, and report annually. They will use their voice to inform members about

the important role travel buyers and suppliers play in protecting children from exploitation.

“We are so excited to welcome Vantage as a Member of The Code,” said Michelle Guelbart, MSW,

Director of Private Sector Engagement for ECPAT-USA. “This year we trained over 100,000 travel

industry associates and Vantage’s Membership will lead to a huge growth in our outreach.”


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


About Vantage Hospitality Group, Inc.

Headquartered in Coral Springs, FL, Vantage Hospitality Group, with over 1,000 hotels independently

owned and operated, is the only hotel company to be ranked on the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010,

2011, 2012 and 2013 Inc. 500/5000 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. Vantage

Hospitality’s first hotel brand, Americas Best Value Inn, is a leader in the limited-service segment

(including Value Inn Worldwide and Canadas Best Value Inn) throughout North America and is the

world’s 10th largest hotel chain. Lexington by Vantage (including Lexington Inn, Lexington Hotel and

Lexington Legacy) is Vantage’s midscale to upscale brand, with locations worldwide. In July 2014,

Vantage entered into an agreement to acquire the Jameson Inns & Suites, Country Hearth Inns & Suites,

America’s Best Inns & Suites, 3 Palms Hotels & Resorts, and Signature Inn brands. Visit www.ABVI.com,

www.LexingtonHotels.com, and www.VantageHospitality.com for more information.


temp-post-image In January 2015, ECPAT-USA will be leading its first journey to Thailand, taking a group of tourists to learn about the issue of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Altruvistas has been a leader and on the forefront of socially responsible tourism, and this will be the first journey in which travelers can gain an educative perspective on this issue of sex trafficking and exploitation, and understand how the CODE was initiated. The journey will include visiting ECPAT International’s headquarters, based in Bangkok. Participants will meet with local ECPAT staff, advocates from other organizations, legislators, etc. to develop a better understanding of the scope of the issue, along with the legal framework and socio-economic factors that contribute to sex trafficking and exploitation in Thailand. The journey would also highlight the progress being made on the ground and the work of the NGO sector, such as vocational training, public awareness campaigns, and other preventative services. Additionally you will travel to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, experience wonderfulcultural heritage sites and temples and enjoy fabulous food and Thai hospitality.
For more information about Altruvistas:
For questions, please email Sarah Porter at sporter@http://www.ecpatusa.org


Happens in five star hotels as well as slummy ones

One front in this battle has been the hotel industry. Traffickers like to use hotels to ply their trade, since they can get in and make some money and then move on before they attract too much attention. Neighbors tend to take a dim view of brothels and report them to the authorities. “It happens in hotels that are five star hotels and it happens in the sleaziest, slummiest rent by the hour hotels,” says Tammy Lee Stanoch, VP of corporate affairs for Carlson.

Perhaps because of this, some hoteliers were early activists in the anti-trafficking cause, including Marilyn Carlson Nelson, the former chairman of the chain (which owns a bunch of hotels including the Park Plaza, Country Inns and Suites and all the different types of Radisson). Initially, this was against the advice of their legal teams, who were leery of highlighting any illegal activity that was taking place within the hotels’ walls, but now many hotel chains, including Hilton, have signed on to the ECPAT Code of Conduct. “These women and children are being victimized in hotels, and whether they’re our hotels or our competitors, we’re going to take a stance on it,” says Stanoch. “Hotels need to be part of the solution because unfortunately that’s where many of these crimes happen.”

Many hotels now train their employees to watch for red flags, and the people at Carlson agreed to share some of what they’ve learned.

One of the key times is at check in. Paying with cash is obviously a cause for concern, especially if the reservation was originally made with a credit card. When an older man or woman checks in with younger women who don’t appear to be his or her children—they speak a different language, they’re distant from him, they look dazed or afraid, or if they’re made up to look older than they really are—that often means the women are not there willingly. A bunch of guys checking in with two young Latvian women alarmedthis hotel employee, who went called the cops on them and broke up a trafficking ring. And then there’s the luggage clue; legitimate travelers usually bring a bunch of bags with them.

For hotels, the next line of defense after a vigilant front desk clerk is the in-house security team. Sometimes traffickers will check in to the room and only much later smuggle the girls and the johns into the hotel through a side door. “Very few women are being paraded by the front desk,” says Stanoch. Hotels have put in very sophisticated camera equipment, but that doesn’t mean they catch everything. Rooms which are being used by traffickers typically have a lot of men coming and going, and sometimes have men congregating outside the door, in the lobby or in the parking lot.

FBI San Antonio Special Agent Michelle Lee told local media after an undercover sting in June that traffickers often use two rooms. “One room is the working hotel room and the other room is where everyone else usually stays and they have just a few, very limited belongings.” Stanoch notes that the hotel staff moves pretty fast, once their suspicions have been raised. “This isn’t something we wait on,” says Stanoch, about how bringing in law enforcement. “It all happens very quickly.”

The hotel housekeepers are key players here too, since traffickers tend to decline cleaning services for days on end. They’re also less likely to tidy up, so the housekeeping staff may find large amounts of condoms and lubricant when they do get in to the room. (Stanoch says people who are having consensual sex generally tend to be neater with their paraphernalia. Who knew? ) Cleaners are also trained to watch out for a large number of computers or cell phones in a room. And then there’s porn. If one room is watching an unusual amount of porn on their hotel TV, that can trigger suspicions especially if it happens in tandem with other signs of trafficking. Not always, of course. “We are very sensitive to our guest’s privacy,” says Stanoch. “If something is suspicious in the guest room, in addition to indicators like a room that has been paid for in cash or multiple men coming and going, this may be cause for concern.”

Checking on the contents of another traveler’s room (or their TV habits) is of course frowned upon for regular guests, but there are things any traveler can watch out for: if you’re checking in or in the lobby, do the women being checked in have their own credit cards and forms of identification? Do they look to be in good health? Do they seem disoriented or disheveled? Are their “boyfriends” significantly older? Do the men seem to be preventing the women from moving about freely? There have even been reports of some women having tattoos that mark ownership.

If you’re on the same floor as a room which seems to have a lot of men hanging around outside, or a constant stream of visitors, you might want to let the hotel authorities know. Each of these symptoms on its own could have a perfectly plausible explanation, but if more than one or two of these warning flags are waving, then it might be time to tell hotel management of your concerns.

The Polaris Project, which works to combat slavery of all kinds (more people are enslaved by forced labor than the sex trade) has just released this awesome map, which identifies the local trafficking-fighting agencies all over the world. But Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT USA, suggests that hotel security is your first line of attack. “It does get more complicated overseas because it depends on the nationality of the perpetrator and what country you are in,” says Smolenski. “We still recommend that if people are in a hotel when they notice something wrong, they should report it to the hotel management.” And if you’re in the United States, it be worthwhile to keep this number handy, too, 1-888-373-7888, the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Have the new guidelines many any difference? Carlson didn’t provide any numbers and some observers are dubious, but Stanoch is persuaded they have. “Since we’ve started this training, I’d say the incidence of trafficking has dropped dramatically.” Now activists want to move further upstream, fighting trafficking at the source, by supporting organizations that offer vulnerable women training and job skills.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the title of Ms. Stanoch. She is VP of corporate affairs, not external affairs.