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January 13, 2011
Shareowners Ask Hotels to Help Prevent Human Trafficking at Super Bowl
    by Robert Kropp

An investor coalition led by Christian Brothers Investment Services requests that hotels take steps to ensure that they are not inadvertently promoting human trafficking.


The issue of human trafficking received some increased attention recently, as January was proclaimed by President Obama as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In a statement, the President said, "Around the world and even within the United States, victims of modern slavery are deprived of the most basic right of freedom."

"From every corner of our Nation to every part of the globe, we must stand firm in defense of freedom and bear witness for those exploited by modern slavery," the President continued.

Corporations are not exempt from the responsibility for addressing human trafficking, as Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of socially responsible investing (SRI) at Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), pointed out in a press release issued to coincide with National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11.

"As shareholders in several hotel chains, we began this past summer to raise awareness of the role that the tourism and hospitality industries can play in fighting this crime. Businesses of all kinds need to be aware that human trafficking poses serious risks to a company's reputation and bottom line," Tanner stated.

In August, CBIS published a
report detailing the results of engagement with major hotel chains with operations in South Africa, where the 2010 World Cup was held.

Now, CBIS, along with members of the
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and the The Socially Responsible Investment Coalition (SRIC) of Texas, has focused its engagement on hotel chains in Dallas, where the 2011 Super Bowl will be held next month. The event is expected to draw 100,000 visitors to Dallas.

The coalition has asked hotels operating to Dallas to sign
The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (The Code), developed by End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), whose signatories agree to develop policies against the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

"Only one major US hotelóCarlsonócan be counted among the more than 900 travel and tourism companies worldwide that have adopted The Code," said Carol Smolenski, Director of ECPAT USA. "The lodging industry is well positioned to help prevent human trafficking by taking steps to stop the use of their hotels for these purposes."

According to the press release, "Companies across all sectors are encouraged to review their supply chains, assess their business partners, and look at their own organizational practices to ensure that they are not inadvertently promoting human trafficking."

"Shareholders are requesting that the travel and tourism industry in Texas play a vital role in addressing human trafficking in the lead-up to the Super Bowl," said Rev. David Schilling, Director of Human Rights and Resources at ICCR.

Sr. Susan Mika, Executive Director of SRIC, said, "Given the threat of human trafficking posed by the large number of travelers expected at the Super Bowl, we will be contacting local hotels directly to find out what they are doing to prevent these unlawful activities."

 

 
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