EMA Education Session: Creating Awareness of Human Trafficking
It was shocking to learn that worldwide, an estimated 1.3 million children are enslaved through prostitution. Much of this trafficking is done in hotels. At the EMA meeting in Las Vegas, we were given advice on what to look for and what to do if we observe the signs.
David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel talked about how they have taken up this issue as a cause, and he encouraged everyone to step up and help end the exploitation.
Katariina Rosenblatt, a survivor of sexual enslavement and author of Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor, told her story and explained how easy it is to enlist vulnerable children. The ‘recruiters’ are often women who gain the trust of the child. www.thereishopeforme.org
Sarah Porter, of ECPAT-USA, works to end sexual exploitation of children for prostitution, trafficking, or pornography. She said that at least 100,000 children in the US are sexually exploited and as many as 300,000 are at risk. www.ecpatusa.org
Traffickers target children as young as 12, male or female. (In fact, 30% are boys.) While sexual exploitation is rampant, victims are also trafficked for agricultural work or housekeeping jobs.
As an industry, we can help by learning how to spot it and report it. Have your organization join with other industry leaders in supporting the Tourism Child-Protection Code, which is the only internationally accepted framework for responsible business practices. www.thecode.org
We may not be able to completely stop it, but together, we can save the lives of thousands of children.
Photos: Andrew Shafer Visuals, thereishopeforme.org