After years of working to combat trafficking, CBIS was deeply grateful to hear the news that American Airlines has committed to sign ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). “This is truly an encouraging sign of progress,” noted Julie Tanner, Director of Catholic Responsible Investing at CBIS. ECPAT-USA, with industry partners, created The Code to raise awareness about sexual exploitation of children and provides support to the tourism industry to combat this activity.
The International Labor Organization estimates that twenty-one million individuals are victims of modern-day slavery. CBIS has urged action and provided resources to companies across industries in an effort to educate and empower leadership toward taking steps to end trafficking and protect the innocent.
“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. Delta Airlines is the other U.S.-based airline that has committed to The Code.
“Together with other investors concerned about this issue, we have also met with United Continental to encourage more action on their training of flight attendants, pilots, and other staff on trafficking awareness,” stated Tanner, who is also an ECPAT-USA board member. “We expect leadership from these companies, and American Airlines’ commitment sets the bar higher.”
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:
• Establish a corporate policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children
• Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases
• Include a clause in partner contracts stating a common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children
• Provide information to travelers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases
• Support, collaborate and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children
• Report annually on the company’s implementation of Code-related activities