“American Airlines and our 120,000 team members around the globe are proud to join ECPAT-USA in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker.
ECPAT-USA is proud to announce that American Airlines is taking a major step in the fight against human trafficking and child exploitation by committing to sign ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). The Code is an industry-driven responsible tourism initiative with a mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry in order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children.
“As the world’s largest airline, we have a unique role to play in combating this terrible practice. American has a training program in place for flight attendants, and later this year we will be updating our pilot and airport team member training to include human trafficking awareness and prevention,” added Parker.
“American Airlines is showing real leadership on this issue, as it will become the second airline in the United States to join The Code and only the third internationally,” said Michelle Guelbart, Director of Private Sector Engagement for ECPAT-USA. “We hope American’s commitment will serve as a catalyst for the industry at large, driving other airlines to make this commitment as well.”
ECPAT-USA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to create a world where no child is bought, sold or used for sex. The International Labor Organization estimates that nearly 21 million people around the world are trapped in modern day slavery. Traffickers transport victims via air travel to move between cities and countries and often use hotels as venues to abuse victims. With proper protocols and training, airline associates can identify, report and bring protection to victims. In response, ECPAT partnered with the travel industry to develop The Code, which is a set of guidelines to protect children from exploitation.
As a member of The Code and its efforts to end child sex trafficking, American will implement the following six criteria, several of which are already in place at the airline:
1. Establish a corporate policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children
2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases
3. Include a clause in further partner contracts stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children
4. Provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases
5. Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children
6. Report annually on the company’s implementation of Code-related activities
ECPAT-USA announced American’s intention to sign The Code during the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention, which is the largest annual gathering of business travel professionals in the world. In 2015, GBTA partnered with ECPAT-USA to share tools for travel buyers and suppliers to ban together to drive human trafficking out of travel.