Business does not take place in a vacuum. As we carry out our business activities, we have a responsibility to build a fairer and more just society.
Did you know that human trafficking is the third largest crime in the world generating over US$15 billion? Nearly 80% of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation. The UN Global Study on Violence Against Children estimates 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 experience sexual exploitation or other forms of sexual violence. The average age of victims is 11 in the developing world and 13 in Western countries.
After learning first-hand of child exploitation in Belize on a mission trip, and knowing how global the problem truly is, SITE officially joined the efforts of ECPAT in 2015. ECPAT is the global network working to end child sexual exploitation. By signing The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct, it signifies SITE’s commitment to speak out against sexual exploitation of women and children and our intention to leverage our influence in the industry to help victims become survivors. We have had chapters, members and partners in our community that have all joined in the signing of the code.
As an industry, it is our duty to call out, expose countries and/or destinations with poor reputations in the area of human trafficking. Human trafficking is happening all around us – at airports, in airplanes, at transportation hubs, in hotels and there are suspicious signs we should all know and understand. In addition, if you see something that looks suspicious, you should report it immediately to local authorities. As Business Events professionals, whose livelihoods pivot around travel, we have an extra responsibility to be aware of the work of ECPAT. Take the time to educate yourself, your teams, family and friends on this topic. Take time to look around while you are travelling and be aware of your surroundings. There are several resources available to help you learn more at https://www.ecpat.org/. I encourage you to share this with others and do all you can to help in the effort to combat this issue. Remember, you can help save someone’s life!
Vice President of Sales