NEW YORK, New York – ECPAT-USA, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies to protect sexually-exploited children, announced that Real Hospitality Group (RHG) has become the first hotel management company in the United States to enter the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct. The Code focuses on the protection of children from sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industries.
As a subscriber to The Code, RHG will develop and implement policies that condemn child trafficking and provide training to help their employees identify and report trafficking activities. The company will also help raise awareness among customers and business partners about the issue and about the Code of Conduct.
“The issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children is abhorrent”, says Rick Day, Chief Operating Officer. “As a leader in the hospitality industry, Real Hospitality Group is proud to use our sphere of influence to do whatever we can to protect the most vulnerable. Responsibility to our communities demands a public stance on this issue and we are pleased to partner with ECPAT and publically sign the Code of Conduct.” Real Hospitality Group’s goal is to lead in corporate responsibility with and to associates, customers, owners, suppliers and communities. This vision is founded in both a broad vision and daily routines at operated hotels.
Real Hospitality Group (RHG) signed the ECPAT Code of Conduct at a ceremony at The Sky Room in Manhattan, making a very public commitment to develop policies and procedures to protect children from sexual exploitation at all the properties it manages.
The Code (www.thecode.org) has been signed by almost 1,000 travel industry members worldwide.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a national leader in the fight against sex trafficking, spoke out at the signing ceremony about the importance of private sector involvement in stopping human trafficking.
“With sex tourism, and more specifically the sexual commercial exploitation of children, reaching epidemic proportions, today’s announcement marks an important step. I applaud ECPAT for developing the Child-Protection Code of Conduct, which establishes important safeguards against trafficking to be adopted by good corporate citizens in the tourism and hospitality industries, and I salute the Real Hospitality Group on becoming the first hotel management company in America to sign on to the Code. I encourage other companies to
follow suit, and look forward to the day when the Code reflects industry-wide standards and practices. We know that law enforcement authorities cannot, by themselves, win the struggle against human trafficking, the twenty-first century form of slavery; and that’s why enlisting the support and active participation of the private sector in this critical effort is so important.”
“We are thrilled to have one of the leading hotel management companies in the country and the largest in New York City joining the effort to protect children, said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “We are especially gratified that a company that is such an important player in New York City’s travel industry has stepped up to do the right thing for the children here in our home town. We hope this sparks momentum from other New York companies to jump on the bandwagon.”
In the United States, the Code has been signed by 7 companies to date: Carlson Companies, Delta Airlines, Global Exchange, Nix Conference and Meeting Management, Hilton Worldwide, Millennium Hotel St. Louis and Wyndham.