Meeting Mentor Magazine

March 2018

New Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking

Marriott International last month became the latest hospitality/travel industry company to sign ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). The Code is a set of voluntary business principles that those connected with the travel and hospitality industries can implement to help prevent child sex tourism and human trafficking. ECPAT-USA is the country’s leading policy organization fighting human trafficking.


“Everyone has a role in fighting human trafficking and preventing child sexual exploitation,” said David Rodriguez, Marriott International’s executive vice president and global chief human resources officer, in a statement. “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.”

This is not Marriott’s first foray into anti-trafficking action. In 2011, ECPAT-USA and Marriott codeveloped training to help hotel employees recognize indicators of human trafficking. Marriott later partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Association to make comprehensive human trafficking awareness training more widely available to the lodging industry. In January 2017, Marriott adopted mandatory human trafficking awareness training for its on-property workforce across more than 6,500 properties worldwide.

According to ECPAT, “human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, in part because of its hidden nature. Hotels across all lodging sectors and markets are at risk for becoming locations used by traffickers to exploit victims.”

Uber, ConferenceDirect Step Up Efforts

In January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Uber announced it will provide information on trafficking to U.S. drivers via an in-app message. The message includes tips on how to spot potential human trafficking and ways to report it. Additional educational information developed with partners like ECPAT-USA will be made available to drivers on Uber’s website.

Uber has worked with ECPAT-USA since 2016, and it is the first and only company in the on-demand space to sign The Code.

On another front, ConferenceDirect associates last year formed a task force to actively work within the hospitality industry to prevent human trafficking. “We have recently approached ECPAT-USA about gaining their support for our efforts in ending human trafficking in the hospitality industry,” Gina Vina, a ConferenceDirect director of global accounts, told MeetingMentor. “We are excited about this partnership because ECPAT has a tremendous credibility, and we can act as ECPAT ambassadors when we speak about this important topic at events.”


Vina said that 20 ConferenceDirect associates are part of the task force, “and several clients have expressed interest in joining to support us and this cause.” She added that the task force is working on social media outreach “to create some buzz around our message.” For more information about the task force, email Vina at

For a comprehensive look at how meeting organizers can help prevent human trafficking at their events, see MeetingMentor’s cover story in the Spring 2017 issue.

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights.

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