THE WOMEN’S GROUP OF THE GREENS CHOOSES ECPAT-USA AS THE RECIPIENT OF DONATIONS FROM THE ANNUAL BOOK AND AUTHOR LUNCHEON

The Women’s Group of the Greens Chooses ECPAT-USA as the Recipient of Donations from the Annual Book and Author Luncheon

Randy Susan Meyers, surrounded by Board members Karen Weiss (left) and Deborah Morea (right)

The Women’s Group of the Greens, a non-sectarian philanthropic organization located in Melville, New York, held their annual Book and Author Luncheon on May 11, 2017, at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, New York. Every year, the organization chooses a charity to receive the donations from the luncheon, which includes raffles ticket sales. This year ECPAT-USA was honored to be the recipient. The donation is specifically designated for ECPAT’s Youth Against Child Trafficking program and will be awarded at their annual meeting next month. Thanks go to Susan Viviani, a member of the organization who suggested ECPAT as a worthy charity.The event was very well attended. There were more than 250 members and their guests in attendance, including two ECPAT-USA Board members, Deborah Morea and Karen Weiss. A co-chair of the event, Cookie Edell, spoke passionately about ECPAT’s mission. The event’s speaker was best-selling author Randy Susan Meyers, who provided a humorous and informative peak into the process of fiction writing, with focus on her latest novel, The Widow of Wall Street. Ms. Meyers capped off this great event by announcing that she was donating her speaker’s fee and all of the proceeds from the sale of her books at the event to ECPAT-USA. Her generosity was overwhelming!

 

HRS – Global Hotel Solutions Encourages Business Travel Industry to Combat Child Trafficking

HRS – Global Hotel Solutions Encourages Business Travel Industry to Combat Child Trafficking

On April 24th, during the travel industry conference, ACTE (Association of Corporate Travel Executives), HRS launched a joint campaign to focus on how the travel industry can combat trafficking. This is the second consecutive year HRS used space at their trade show booth to shine a light on ECPAT-USA’s work to create a world where no child is bought, sold, or used for sex.

ECPAT-USA’s executive director Carol Smolenski with HRS’s vice-president-Americas, Suzanne Neufang

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Hotel Association of New York City highlights human trafficking, features ECPAT-USA at recent seminar

Hotel Association of New York City highlights human trafficking, features ECPAT-USA at recent seminar

ECPAT-USA was proud to present to the Hotel Association of New York City’s Security/ Safety Seminar on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. The seminar, which was attended by over 80 travel professionals highlighted the important role of hotels employees in identify and reporting human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

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Launch of ECPAT-USA Cause Vision Comic Book to Prevent Child Sex Trafficking

Launch of ECPAT-USA Cause Vision Comic Book to Prevent Child Sex Trafficking

© Carla Licavoli Photography 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Is Dylan? is an innovative new tool for preventing the sex trafficking of children in the form of an educational comic book. It was launched last week in New York City by ECPAT-USA in partnership with the Administration for Children’s Services, CauseVision and JCCA. Fifteen thousand copies will be distributed to at-risk youth throughout the City.

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Vision Hospitality Featured in Human Trafficking Awareness Video

ECPAT-USA Partner, Vision Hospitality, Featured in Human Trafficking Awareness Video

By: Nicole Walker

Tennessee Valley PBS recently released the human trafficking awareness video Close To You that displays strong partnerships across all sectors in Tennessee that are banning together to fight against trafficking in their state. Vision Hospitality was featured because of the role that Vision’s DoubleTree by Hilton Chattanooga/Downtown hotel has played in raising awareness and acting in the community. Vision Hospitality is a valued partner of ECPAT-USA and has been a Code Member since 2013.

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ECPAT-USA Supporters: Cyclist Dorothea Calabrese Puts Her Helmet Back On To Ride With ECPAT-USA In The Five Boro Bike Tour

ECPAT-USA Supporters: Cyclist Dorothea Calabrese Puts Her Helmet Back On To Ride With ECPAT-USA In The Five Boro Bike Tour

This is part of a series of blog posts about individuals, families and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support.

Last year’s TD 5 Boro Bike Tour Photo courtesy of Ed Haas / Bike New York

After a break from a life that used to include cycling regularly, Dorothea Calabrese is hopping back on the bike as a member of the ECPAT-USA Charity Team in this year’s Five Boro Bike Tour. A travel buyer for Maritz Travel – A Maritz Global Events Company, who is also sponsoring her slot on the team, Calabrese is slightly nervous (but excited) about the 40-mile ride, and she has an unrivaled cheering section in her two kids.

We talked to Calabrese about her 25 years in the travel and tourism industry, how she’s seen the awareness of sex trafficking increase over time and why her training is a family affair.

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Business and Child Sex Trafficking, Where to Next? ECPAT-USA’s Comments on the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct

Business and Child Sex Trafficking, Where to Next?
ECPAT-USA’s Comments on the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct

By: Dr. Camelia Tepelus and Michelle Guelbart

On December 2016, as the country was initiating a transition between administrations, Keith Avila, an Uber driver in California saved a 16 year old teen runaway from becoming a victim of sex trafficking. Rescues like these are made possible because of growing awareness around the issue coupled with increased employee and contractor training to identify the signs of human trafficking by companies. Keith was trained, empowered and supported by Uber management to alert the appropriate authorities. Uber, Delta Air Lines, and many other American-based global companies are members of the internationally recognized Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct (TheCode.org), an initiative managed in the United States by ECPAT-USA, joining advocates and businesses committed to prevent and actively combat trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.

With over twenty years experience advocating for responsible business and child rights, we at ECPAT-USA know that businesses are in a critical strategic position to ensure that child rights are respected and protected. When the US government announced that it would develop the first U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct (NAP) we were eager to provide input to the federal government in early 2016 on how the strategy could address grave violations of child rights including sexual exploitation and trafficking. The strategy was released among the final initiatives of the Obama administration in December 2016 and describes governmental expectations and federal policies regarding the conduct of US corporations. The NAP aimed to be consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and is the outcome of a year-long multi-agency and multi-stakeholder national consultation.

Drawing from decades of partnership with businesses to prevent child sex trafficking, ECPAT-USA provided input into the NAP process from a business and child rights perspective. Our main recommendations for the NAP were – first, to make an explicit priority of protecting child rights in all business operations, both domestic and abroad; second — to continue soliciting business input in the process; third – to recognize and award good practices; and finally, to continue to evaluate and monitor progress of the NAP itself. Dr. Tepelus and Ms. Guelbart compared the NAP to their earlier recommendations and provided input and feedback on where the US government can go from where we are today.

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Youth Action to End Sexual Violence

Youth Action to End Sexual Violence

On Tuesday March 21st, ECPAT-USA hosted our 3rd Annual Youth Panel as a side event to the United Nations’ 61st Commission on the Status of Women. Close to one hundred people came out to support our young people as they shared the stories of their involvement in the movement to end child sex trafficking.

In fulfillment of the panel’s title, Youth Action to End Sexual Violence, students from two schools showcased their projects. The audience was nothing less than impressed. Our youngest panelist Awa Haidara, a middle schooler from the Academy of Future Leaders, created a Public Service Announcement with her peers. The PSA was directed, filmed, and edited by youth and demonstrated that victims of child sex trafficking are often silenced. The first part of the 2-minute piece showed students with tape over their mouths, asking for help, while the second part showed young people raising awareness about the issue demonstrating that while children can be the most vulnerable to child sex trafficking, they can also be the leaders in the movement to end it. Awa hopes to to start a girls’ group at her school which will provide a safe space for young women to come and talk about their experiences with these issues.

Our high school students, Julia Zeng and Rumana Khan from Brooklyn Technical High School, shared their experiences as co-Secretaries of the Youth Against Child Trafficking (Y-ACT) Club. They emphasized the importance of providing diverse platforms for youth to use to raise awareness about the issue. Their Y-ACT club created a website that provides facts about child sex trafficking, resources for victims, and updates on what members are doing to help end this human rights abuse. In addition, they participated in an international art exhibit through a non-profit organization in India named Guria who garnered beautiful artwork from the Brooklyn Tech students. These artists were both members and non-members who used their talent to create powerful works of art with the message: people are not for sale.

Iryna Makuruk, courageously shared her story of being lured into domestic sex trafficking by her former boyfriend and the pain and /challenges she endured during that time. She challenged the audience to rethink what “victims” look like and to provide a judgement-free space for people to share their experiences because one never knows what’s going on with others. She passionately told the audience–especially the young women–that they are beautiful and do not need to depend on anyone to let them know it. Iryna’s message is that our youth can and will make a difference if they truly want to.

CI Azumano Travel Announces its support for The Code and ECPAT-USA

CI Azumano Travel Announces its support for The Code and ECPAT-USA

Cruise Ventures, Inc. (CI Azumano Travel) joined the fight against human trafficking by signing 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.

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Report From the Tourism Code of Conduct Annual Meeting

Report From the Tourism Code of Conduct Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct takes place in March each year. As usual this year it was held in Berlin to coincide with ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair.

Thirty eight U.S. companies having joined the Code to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children from sexual exploitation. Around the world more than 300 companies are members of the Code.

The annual Code meeting is an opportunity for companies and ECPAT groups from around the world to share best practices, discuss their mutual work to implement the Code and decide how to move forward together.

These are some of the highlights:

A new policy on “voluntourism” was approved. Voluntourism is a form of travel which gives tourists the ability to work on projects helping local charities.
It was noted that the UN World Tourism Organization is debating a new international convention on sustainable tourism.
ECPAT’s Global Study on Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism has been rolled out around the world. The extensive recommendations have implications for how the Code should be expanded and implemented. The report includes separate publications focusing on each region of the world including North America. ECPAT continues to promote these recommendations.
There may be changes to the international structure of the Code. For the past year it has been housed at and supported by ECPAT International in Bangkok. ECPAT has been the driving force behind the Code for many years. ECPAT national groups around the world work in partnership with companies and facilitate their implement of the Code through technical assistance, training assistance and advice on best practices.