Anti-child trafficking policy organization ECPAT-USA announced a new partnership with Marriott International to combat and prevent human trafficking and exploitation in all forms. Marking National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Marriott will sign ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools, and support to the travel and hospitality industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
“Everyone has a role in fighting human trafficking and preventing child sexual exploitation,” says David Rodriguez, executive vice president and global chief human resources officer, Marriott International. “At Marriott International, we are training all of our associates on how to identify the indicators of human trafficking and partnering with ECPAT-USA and the broader industry to stop this crime from landing at our front doors and in our communities.”
The hotel industry is a crucial partner in the fight to end child sex trafficking because traffickers are known to use travel infrastructure to conduct their crimes and abuse victims. With proper protocols and training, hotel associates are uniquely positioned to identify, report, and bring protection to victims.
For more than 25 years, ECPAT-USA has been fighting to protect every child’s basic human right to grow up free from the threat of sexual exploitation and trafficking. One of the organization’s most critical initiatives to protect children is engagement with the tourism and hospitality industry. ECPAT partners with travel industry leaders—U.S. airlines, hotels, travel management companies, and other brands—to sign The Code, a set of guidelines to protect children from exploitation and ultimately reduce the channels in which traffickers operate.
“We are honored to partner with Marriott International to fight child sex trafficking and exploitation in all forms,” says Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT-USA. “With ECPAT-USA’s policies and training in place, Marriott’s associates will be able to identify and report potential cases of trafficking and bring protection to victims. As an iconic brand, Marriott International’s deep commitment to human rights and social responsibility will generate public awareness and support for the growing movement to end child sex trafficking.”
The signing represents the latest development in ECPAT-USA’s collaboration with Marriott. In 2011, ECPAT-USA partnered with Marriott to co-develop training to help hotel employees recognize the indicators for human trafficking, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children. More recently, they partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) to make comprehensive human trafficking training available to the hotel industry more broadly.
In January 2017, Marriott adopted a mandatory human trafficking training requirement for its on-property workforce across more than 6,500 properties in 127 countries and territories. The company has so far trained more than 225,000 people who wear a Marriott badge. Now, the global hotel company is taking its commitment a step further by signing The Code and establishing ECPAT-USA as a strategic partner in raising awareness of trafficking across its portfolio of 30 hotel brands including The Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and more.
As a member of The Code and its efforts to end child sex trafficking, Marriott will implement the following six criteria:
- Establish a corporate policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children
- Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation, and how to report suspected cases
- Include a clause in further partner contracts stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children
- Provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children, and how to report suspected cases
- Support, collaborate, and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children
- Report annually on the company’s implementation of Code-related activities
Photo: Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA, and David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Marriott International, sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct.