ECPAT-USA partnering with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) to educate the industry about child sexual exploitation

I attended the following meeting on trafficking this morning. There were about forty travel executives in the room. All seemed interested in doing their part in stopping trafficking. See the end of this message for the CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN TRAVEL AND TOURISM. To date 1,000 corporations have signed on world-wide. However, very few of them are in the USA.  -Maura

Brooklyn, NY (31 March 2009) –The widespread problem of children being sexually exploited by people traveling away from home is starting to be acknowledged by the travel industry. Corporate responsibility for preventing child sex tourism will be the subject of an education session at the upcoming conference of The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), in partnership with ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes).

The Global Education Conference in Washington, D.C., 5-7 April will address the issue of child sexual exploitation, its impact on business, and the measures each company can take to comply with global standards.

The session, Beyond Green: Are Your CSR Efforts Going Far Enough? will feature Carol Smolenski, Executive Director, ECPAT-USA, and Amy O’Neill Richard, Senior Advisor to the Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, U.S. Department of State. The session will take place on Monday, 6 April, from 10:15-11:15.

“As the leading educator for the global business travel industry, ACTE has a responsibility to inform and educate travel management professionals about issues such as the sexual exploitation of children,” Susan Gurley, ACTE Executive Director, said. “Partnering with organizations like ECPAT allows us to offer conference attendees valuable information about what their companies and travellers can do to ensure they are not unknowingly contributing to this pernicious problem.”

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to partner with ACTE,” noted Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “We have a difficult subject to talk about, but we know that a lot of companies, like Carlson Companies and Accor, are taking the lead in preventing the sexual exploitation of children. Our job is to provide support and technical assistance and we’re happy to work with ACTE on spreading the word.”

ECPAT International is a global network of organisations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. It seeks to encourage the world community to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights free and secure from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

During the hour-long session, speakers will demonstrate the business impact of the issue of child sexual exploitation on organisations, and introduce participants to the “Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism,” which identifies those measures companies can take to protect this vulnerable segment of the population.

“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not just about reducing carbon emissions,” noted Gurley. “ACTE is partnering with ECPAT to raise awareness of this issue and to offer solutions on how to promote and increase more responsible practices.”

Registration is limited for the ECPAT session and is on a first come first serve basis. If you are interested in attending, please contact Amber Kelleher, Director, Global Programs, at akelleher@acte.org.

About ECPAT-USA:

ECPAT-USA is the U.S. branch of an international organization represented in more than 70 countries around the world. ECPAT stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. ECPAT-USA undertakes research, training, advocacy and awarenessraising to ensure that children enjoy their right to grow up free from sexual exploitation, both in the U.S. and abroad. See: www.ecpatusa.org.
THE SIX CRITERIA
Suppliers of tourism services adopting the code commit themselves to implement the following six criteria:
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN TRAVEL AND TOURISM
An industry dr iven responsible tourism initiative in collaboration with ECPAT International, funded by UNICEF and supported by the UNWTO

THE SIX CRITERIA

Suppliers of  tourism services adopting the code commit themselves to implement the following criteria:
1. To establish an ethical policy regarding commercial sexual exploitation of children.
2. To train the personnel in the country of origin and travel destinations.
3. To introduce a clause in contracts with suppliers, stating a common repudiation of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
4. To provide information to travellers by means of catalogues, brochures, in-flight films, ticket-slips, home pages, etc.
5. To provide information to local “key persons” at the destinations.
6.To report annually.