Hilton Worldwide signs 'Tourism Code of Conduct'
Hilton Worldwide Inc., the leading global hospitality company, has become the latest hotel company to take a strong stand against the commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing the tourism Code of Conduct (The Code), ECPAT-USA announced today. The Code specifically focuses on the protection of children from sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industries.
While The Code has been signed by almost 1,000 travel industry members worldwide, Hilton Worldwide is only the fourth U.S. company to agree to work with ECPAT-USA, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies to protect sexually exploited children. Just last month, Delta Air Lines became the first U.S. air carrier and the third U.S. organization to sign.
As a subscriber to The Code, Hilton Worldwide will implement policies that condemn child trafficking and exploitation and provide training to help their employees identify and report illicit activities. Hilton Worldwide will also look for ways to raise awareness about ECPAT and the Code among customers and other stakeholders.
The purpose of The Code is to prevent and mitigate child sex trafficking, as well as encourage a responsible, child-wise tourism industry, according to Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA.
“Hilton Worldwide believes strongly in ECPAT-USA’s important mission to protect children from sexual exploitation and to bring greater attention to the issues surrounding child trafficking,” said Chris Nassetta, president & CEO, Hilton Worldwide. “As part of our commitment, we will work with government, non-governmental organizations and others in our industry to address this issue.”
“Some companies fear that associating with the tragic reality of child sex tourism will hurt their corporate brands or public images. The actions of Hilton Worldwide and Delta demonstrate that in fact taking a strong stand against child exploitation and trafficking is good for business,” said Smolenski.
Other U.S. organizations that have signed The Code include Carlson Companies, which owns the Radisson Hotels, and Global Exchange’s Reality Tours. Smolenski noted that Hilton Worldwide’s signing of The Code is an important milestone in ECPAT’s ongoing efforts to reach U.S. travel companies and create awareness of their need to provide leadership in tackling child trafficking.