Human Trafficking News

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On the week of the biggest event for human trafficking activity—The Super Bowl—here is an update on what our industry is doing to grow awareness.

• At last year’s Super Bowl in Miami, authorities arrested 44 people and rescued 22 victims of human trafficking, and now authorities in Tampa are ramping up their efforts for Super Bowl weekend. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is partnering with Uber to teach thousands of drivers through a virtual training course how to spot and report human trafficking while picking up passengers. “This is what we’re trying to stop and we have been fighting against very hard here in Florida,” Moody told Click.Orlando.

• In partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation), ECPAT-USA released Unpacking Human Trafficking, the latest update in a series of reports that detail anti-trafficking training and signage laws, as well as potential civil and criminal liability, in each state. “For over a decade, ECPAT-USA has been working with hotel and lodging companies to raise awareness of how businesses can help prevent traffickers from using the industry for their own corrupt practices,” said Yvonne Chen, director of private sector engagement at ECPAT-USA. “These resources will not only help hotels remain compliant with their local anti-trafficking laws but will also help staff and associates better understand the signs that a child might be at risk.”

• Omni Hotels & Resorts will host the nation’s premier conference on child and youth sex trafficking, the JuST Conference (Juvenile Sex Trafficking) that Shared Hope International has annually brought to the nation over much of the past decade. Said Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope: “Much of sex trafficking is conducted in, or facilitated through, the hospitality industry. This is where alert and trained employees can make a huge difference—literally, their awareness may actually save the life of a boy or a girl who is being targeted by a sex trafficker.” As an authority with 25 years invested in addressing the issue of sex trafficking, Smith will also be available to speak at Omni client events.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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