NEW YORK, New York - ECPAT-USA announced that Wyndham Worldwide has become the latest major hospitality company to take a stand against the commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). While The Code has been signed by more than 1,000 travel industry members worldwide, Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, is only the fifth US company to sign.
According to Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies to protect sexually exploited children, the purpose of The Code is to prevent and mitigate child trafficking, as well as encourage a socially responsible, child-wise tourism industry. “We are so happy to welcome Wyndham Worldwide to the growing community of companies that are helping in the fight against the sex trafficking of children,” said Smolenski, “All travel properties could unwittingly be used as venues for this purpose. If they do nothing to raise awareness or to prevent child trafficking, they risk becoming an indirect and unintentional conduit for the abuse that takes place.”
“As a family-oriented company, we are proud to join with ECPAT in our shared commitment to the safety of all children,” said Mary Falvey, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Wyndham Worldwide, “Unfortunately, as long as there are people profiting from this tragic practice, no member of the tourism industry can ever guarantee these events will not occur in the future. Nonetheless, we firmly believe that collaborations like this play a critical role in increasing awareness and prevention that can make a difference.”
The addition of such a large company such as Wyndham to The Code membership is being applauded by several groups supporting ECPAT. “Being aware of the ways that traffickers may use a company’s premises helps companies be active partners in identifying and preventing child exploitation around the world,” said Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services, a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate
Responsibility - a coalition of active shareholders who view their investment management as a catalyst for change. “We applaud Wyndham for its leadership and for taking a proactive approach as a global corporate citizen committed to the safety of children,” she said.
Other US organizations that have signed The Code include Global Exchange’s Reality Tours, Hilton Worldwide (with pilot projects in two cities), Delta Air Lines, and Carlson Companies, whose brands include Radisson Hotels.