Travel companies raise awareness about human trafficking

By Kate Rice
The United Nations and travel companies are spearheading a global campaign to educate travelers about the fight against human trafficking.

Sabre and Marriott International are launch partners for the campaign, called “Your Actions Count, Be a Responsible Traveler.” U.N. organizations involved are the World Tourism Organization, U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime and UNESCO.

Marriott will share the anti-trafficking message with customers and employees through internal and external websites, reservation confirmation emails, Marriott Rewards newsletters, blogs and social media.

Sabre will support the campaign with four consumer-facing products — Travelocity, Lastminute.com, TripCase and GetThere — and communications efforts with stakeholders and employees.

Human trafficking, including sex tourism and forced labor, is estimated to generate $32 billion a year, according to ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking).

Two-and-a-half years ago, Carlson Wagonlit began including an anti-trafficking message on itineraries for corporate clients. The advisory briefly describes the global problem of human trafficking and includes a toll-free number for the National Human Trafficking hotline: 1-888-373-7888.

“By working together, we can educate travelers and industry players, and begin to eradicate this vicious crime. We can also give hope to its victims,” said Bruce Charendoff, Sabre’s senior vice president, government and external affairs.

Sabre has been active in the fight against human trafficking since the company launched its Passport to Freedom campaign.

The campaign includes an training module educating travel industry personnel about the signs of human trafficking and how to responsibly and safely respond to those situations. It made the training module publicly available in January.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association also has created a training module for members in cooperation with ECPAT.

Follow Kate Rice on Twitter @krtravelweekly. 
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