Thea Briggs, a college student at Columbia University and an avid traveler, works for an NGO called ECPAT-USA – a network of organizations and individuals working together to eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children around the world. She recently reached out to me to tell me about ECPAT and Delta Air Lines’ participation in a project called ‘The Code’. I asked her to write the guest blog that is posted below. I would not have a soul if I didn’t ask you to read it and pass the message to your networks. Let’s support the travel providers that try to protect the world’s most precious inhabitants, children.
UNICEF estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked for sexual exploitation per year. The multi-billion dollar modern slave trade is similar in size to the drug trade, but unlike drugs which can be sold only once, the body of a child can be sold over and over again. In recent years, however, many companies in the travel sector have taken a stand against these heinous crimes, by adopting a set of voluntary anti-sex tourism steps called The Code of Conduct.
The Code was created by ECPAT (End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) in conjunction with the Scandinavian tour operators and the World Tourism Organization in 1998, in order to address the global demand for children in sex tourism.
The first and only major airline to adopt The Code is Delta Air Lines, joining more than a thousand other signatories. Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT-USA explains, “All travel companies could unwittingly be facilitating the sex trafficking of children. If they do nothing to raise awareness or to prevent child trafficking, they risk becoming an indirect and unintentional conduit for the abuse that takes place”.
As a subscriber to The Code, Delta implements policies that condemn child trafficking, provide training to help their employees identify and report suspected sexual exploitation activities, and will raise awareness among customers by including information about ECPAT and The Code in its Sky magazine and delta.com website. Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, remarked “We look forward to playing a role in ECPAT’s important mission to raise awareness about and combat child trafficking. Delta prides itself on doing what is right, and this is the morally right thing to do.”
For more information about what you can do to prevent the trafficking of children for sexual purposes or to support ECPAT’s Protect Children in Tourism summer fundraiser: