To mark World Tourism Day, Ending Child Slavery at the Source (ECPAT-USA) released a landmark survey of 70 travel industry companies and found that, while more than 70 percent of companies surveyed have anti-human trafficking policies in place, the overall score of 38 percent leaves room for improvement. The Stamping Out Exploitation in Travel report graded efforts based on policies and practices that prevent and respond to human trafficking in the tourism industry.
Michelle Guelbart, director of private sector engagement at ECPAT-USA, noted that the hospitality industry has both a responsibility and an opportunity to address commercial sexual exploitation of children. “We have been incredibly proud of the way our partners have stepped up and taken concrete steps to protect children from trafficking,” she said.
The report was designed to measure that progress, establish a baseline and highlight best practices for training staff and putting resources in place.
Snapshot of Anti-Trafficking Efforts
- The travel industry’s average score on their efforts to stamp out exploitation in travel efforts is 38 percent. The scores took into consideration strength of policies and procedures, implementation, contracts, transparency and reporting.
- Companies that partner with ECPAT-USA and are members of The Code have an average score of 47 percent. Franchised hospitality companies overrepresented among top scorers. On average, the aviation sector scored the highest, followed closely by travel Management Companies.
- 60 percent of companies are actively engaging with law enforcement, non-governmental organizations, and governments.
- Although great strides have also been made in recent years to train employees on human trafficking risks and how to respond, only one-third of companies surveyed provided training to their associates in the last year, and less than half explained their training initiatives directly in policy or procedural documents.
- More than 70 percent of companies have an anti-human trafficking policy that has been established, communicated to their associates and is publicly available.
- More than 400,000 travel associates have been trained to know what to look for and how to report suspicious activity.
- The International Labor Organization estimates that an estimated 40.3 million people are exploited in human trafficking; 1 in 4 victims are children.
- More than 60 companies in the United States are members of ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct.