(St. Louis – Nov. 13, 2013) – Today, Maritz Travel joined the fight against human trafficking by signing ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) during a company-wide town hall meeting. Signing The Code, a set of business principles travel and tourism companies implement to specifically combat child sex trafficking, symbolizes Maritz Travel’s commitment to helping raise awareness of human trafficking and child sex trafficking throughout the travel and tourism industry.
Nearly 21 million people around the world are victims of modern day slavery. In the U.S. alone, at least 100,000 of those victims are American children with another 200,000–300,000 at risk each year. In the past, traffickers sold their victims on the streets, but now they have moved their operations onto the internet and use technology to sell their victims. 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 few industries that come across these victims.
“As a global company and leader in the travel industry, it is our duty to bring awareness around the important issue of human trafficking,” said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel. “Unspeakable acts against people are happening every day in areas in which our company, partners, suppliers, and vendors can play a role in identifying, reporting and bringing an end to an industry that has already claimed 21 million victims globally. Our partnership with ECPAT will help us educate our employees and partners, hopefully leading to the protection of many innocent children.”
As part of its efforts to help end human trafficking, Maritz Travel is launching a company-wide awareness program to inform employees of the important role travel companies have in protecting children. The company will create a policy against human trafficking, develop training for all employees, and encourage suppliers and partners to get involved with ECPAT-USA and The Code.
“Maritz Travel’s global reach within the travel industry will open the eyes of companies that can join them in putting a stop to human trafficking. We are happy to have Maritz Travel on board with The Code. I know it will make a difference,” said Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT-USA, who was at the signing.
Maritz Travel is one of the first travel companies to partner with ECPAT in the fight against child sex trafficking. More than a dozen U.S. companies and organizations in the travel and tourism industry, including airlines, hotel companies, management companies, tour operators, and distributors have already pledged their support. For the full list of ECPAT-USA code signatories, visit http://ecpatusa.org/wp/what-we-do/tourism-child-protection-code-of-conduct/.
“It is my hope that Maritz Travel’s involvement in ECPAT will allow us to help educate others – suppliers, vendors and the industry as a whole – on the important role we all have in protecting children around the world,” said Peckinpaugh.
For more information about the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct and how your company can get involved in combating child sex trafficking, visit www.ecpatusa.org.