SEVILLE, Spain -- The World Travel & Tourism Council formed
a global task force to help prevent and combat human trafficking, and WTTC called
on the larger travel industry to join its effort.
WTTC reports that trafficking affects 30 million victims
worldwide and relies on travel networks to operate.
The task force will try to increase industry and consumer
awareness of human trafficking and train both travel industry employees and
travelers on ways to identify and report suspected cases. It will also
encourage governments to enact legislation that recognizes human trafficking as
a crime and develop resources and support needed such as national hotlines.
WTTC will also provide assistance, employment training and
opportunities to trafficking survivors.
"Human trafficking is a devastating, widespread and
critical issue that unfortunately relies on travel and tourism networks to
operate," said WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara. "As a sector, we must do
everything in our power to help eradicate the problem so that people may move
freely and safely across the globe, but never coerced."
Guevara said that the global reach of the travel industry
means "we have the power to do something about it. Many members are very
active in this fight but there is no industrywide initiative."
WTTC said one-quarter of the victims (5.5 million) of human
trafficking are children and that 19% of victims are trafficked for sexual
purposes, which makes up 66% of the of the $150 billion this illicit activity
The founding task force members are Airbnb, American Express
Global Business Travel, Bicester Village Shopping Collection, Ctrip.com
International, CWT, Emirates, Expedia Group, Hilton, JTB Corp., Las Vegas
Convention and Visitors Authority, Marriott International, Silversea, Thomas
Cook and TUI.