December 12, 2019
Founded in 1991, ECPAT-USA has been leading the charge to prevent child trafficking for more than 25 years, with a mission to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children around the world through awareness, advocacy, policy and legislation. ECPAT-USA partners with travel industry leaders to help companies implement programs and policies that comprehensively address human trafficking and child exploitation. The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code) is a set of business principles that travel and tour companies can implement to help protect the exploitation and trafficking of children. The Code provides awareness, tool and support to ensure the business community can endorse and support ECPAT-USA’s message.
Speaking on the addition to the DMC Network’s company culture, Managing Director Dan Tavrytzky said “We are so pleased to have officially partnered with ECPAT-USA to join The Code. We are in the business of travel and hospitality and we know that our team are in the privileged position of being able to assist ECPAT-USA and the great work that they are doing in preventing child trafficking and exploitation. We have a moral obligation to ensure that we continue to look for ways to give back in this industry, and supporting this organization is one of those.”
To read the full story by Tatiana Rokou on Travel Daily News: Click Here
November 11, 2019
I have been enthralled to read the articles about sisters throughout the world who are on the frontlines of fighting against human trafficking, and rescuing the victims. One of the articles particularly struck me. I think it was a sister from Nigeria who said something along the lines of, “Do not think of your efforts to be as a drop in the ocean but that we are an ocean of many drops.” This led me to think of my own journey of trying to stop the evil effects of human trafficking and how often I felt I was only a drop in the ocean, especially since I am getting on in years!
From the Talitha Kum website — its section on Nigeria — I read that one of our own sisters, Blandina Ryan of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, helped bring about awareness of this erosion of the human dignity of Nigerian women, through the Nigeria Conference of Women Religious. In 1999, while working in Nigeria, I first heard about Sister Blandina working in collaboration with other women religious in Italy; they met trafficked Nigerian women and restored them to their families. I knew she risked her life and was very proud of her.
Upon my return to the United States in 2002, I found some ways to help. In a circular letter from the Christian Brothers Investment Services, Julie Tanner suggested leaving a copy of the letter at hotel and motel desks for the managers, asking them to train their staff to look out for human trafficking. After several years of this I was delighted to hear from ECPAT (formerly End Child Prostitution And Trafficking) that most of the hotels had complied with this code; now it was time to thank them for doing so.
My next project was to ask if I could use the same sort of letter to write airlines, to ask them to sign the code to protect children from human trafficking; I received help from ECPAT’s Michelle Guelbart. Delta Airlines had already signed the code, so I wrote to the CEO of American Airlines to do the same — and also asked him to train his flight attendants to watch for human trafficking on its flights.
I heard nothing, but a year later, my sister traveled with American Airlines and sat next to a woman who told her she was the flight attendant in charge of training the American Airlines flight attendants. I thanked God for his providence because if my sister had not told me this story I would have given up hope. I have since learned that many sisters have been working on alerting airlines to the tragedy in human trafficking through the efforts of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, or USCSAHT.
Recently I heard about another sister with U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, who used to “corner” the flight attendants on every flight she took, to talk to them about how to detect human trafficking. There was a recent story about how airline staff in the Philippines detected a woman trying to smuggle a six day old baby out of the country in a sleeve sling. The baby was rescued.
Not knowing about this yet, my next move was to write to the CEO of American Airlines to congratulate him for training the flight attendants; before asking him to sign the code I checked the ECPAT website and found that American Airlines had signed the code a few months before. Overjoyed, I thanked God again.
I was encouraged to continue when I remembered something about the woman at the well from a book by Blessed Dom Columba Marmion. He said that all she had was a glimmer of goodwill, and Jesus used that glimmer to reveal himself to her and send her forth as his missionary.
To read the full story by Margaret Anne Meyer on Global Sisters Report: Click Here
August 1, 2019
Better Companies, Better World
Linda Haydock, SNJM
To change corporate business practices on human trafficking is a long-term, demanding, and often daunting task. Let us celebrate the progress we have made.
A powerful alliance is formed when religious women and men, ecumenical and interfaith groups, and non-profit partners bring their faith to bear in the boardrooms of the largest corporations in the world. In twenty years, there are many accomplishments in addressing human trafficking through shareholder advocacy.
Four areas are noteworthy:
- Major movement to stem human trafficking in the tourism industry;
- Success in reducing human trafficking in the business supply chain;
- An emerging call to the tech sector for vigilance concerning child exploitation online;
- Companies adopting ethical recruitment policies and practices.
Many years and many partnerships have been devoted to addressing sex trafficking taking place in hotels and through airline travel. The result is that almost every major hotel chain has signed the “The Code” to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. Nearly one million employees have received training to prevent exploitation; identify and report suspected cases of human trafficking, and to support children’s rights. American and Delta airlines are among those who trained employees, publish notices about human trafficking in their onboard magazines or engaged in efforts to protect children. The next plane you board, ask the flight attendant if she/he has received training about human trafficking.
It is a challenge to keep a careful watch on the corporate supply chain from the sourcing of raw materials to the finished product. Shareholder resolutions and dialogues with numerous companies have created accountability. What does a win-win-win look like for vulnerable people, shareholders and companies?
An example is The Hershey Company. What is not to like about chocolate? Child labor! It was religious shareholders’ concern twelve years ago about child labor on the cocoa farms in the African countries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast that prompted dialogue with Hershey. These many years later we celebrate Hershey’s commitment to 100% certifiable and sustainable cocoa by 2020, which is free of child labor; the $500 million “Cocoa for Good Program” to nourish and empower children and preserve natural eco-systems in the Ivory Coast and Ghana; and the adoption of a Human Rights Policy that includes ethical recruitment.
Whether it concerns our food, clothes or household products, it is incumbent upon each of us to raise our consciousness about the human story in the supply chain. Judy Byron, OP, invites us to ask, “Could I have a human trafficking footprint?” When I put on a shirt in the morning or make a food choice for my evening meal, it is an opportunity to reflect on the story behind the label. A choice of “Fair Trade” can ensure that one is contributing to the dignity of workers.
Thirdly, the tech sector possesses enormous potential to solve global problems, and conversely, it can exacerbate age-old issues. Recently Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) illuminated the potential dark side of the tech sector, child pornography. Through a shareholder resolution, CBIS called Verizon’s Corporate Board to issue a report on the potential sexual exploitation of children through the Company’s products and services. The result, 33.7 percent of Verizon’s shareholders voted in favor of the resolution! It is more than hopeful that there is an increasing awareness among shareholders that they have a voice in setting the direction of the company. If you have a retirement portfolio, a money manager or investments, be sure that you or your manager examine and vote the proxies of the companies in which you are invested.
Fourthly, a critical area of focus in shareholder advocacy in modern day slavery is to request the ethical recruitment of workers. The global economy creates a climate where labor brokers charge worker outrageous recruitment fees, take travel documents and do not provide contracts. It can take years for a migrant worker to pay back the debt incurred. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility is leading the No fees Campaign to support ethical recruitment. To date, 40 companies including Walmart, Ford, Hormel and Archer Daniels Midland have committed to “no worker paid fees.”
Please join the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking in our continuing efforts to require business transparency. Ask your Congress member to support the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019.
April 4, 2019
April 4, 2019, will be an important day in MPI’s history, as the organization will become a signatory to “The Code,” an important document—and pledge—by a global network of associations and corporations committed to taking significant actions in the worldwide fight against human trafficking.
MPI’s original commitment to this cause came in 2017, when President and CEO Paul Van Deventer, who will be signing The Code on behalf of MPI, heard Sister Kathleen Bryant, a Religious Sister of Charity from Los Angeles and a board member of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, address an MPI International Board of Directors meeting.
“I was moved by the plight of these innocent victims—many of them young children—and realized that I had a responsibility and an opportunity to help,” Van Deventer would later write in The Meeting Professional, the monthly magazine of MPI. (The Meeting Professional has featured many articles about the fight against human trafficking since the beginning of 2018.)
MPI soon embraced the cause, becoming involved with the U.S. affiliate of ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking), a network of organizations in more than 90 countries with one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children.
ECPAT-USA has been around since 1991 and has been enlisting hotels, airlines and other fundamental components of the travel industry into the fight. The reason for this is that most of the human trafficking involves moving women and children around the globe, often to be used as sex slaves, with “customers” being accommodated inside hotel rooms.
Recently, ECPAT-USA hit upon the idea of recruiting professional groups within the meeting industry to join in the worldwide movement to fight human trafficking. It was something of a match made in heaven when MPI and ECPAT-USA came together.
To read the full article by Rowland Stiteler on MPI: Click Here