Human traffickers use hotels, airlines, etc. in the trafficking of their victims, so when you travel, it’s important to stay aware and report anything that looks suspicious. Here are 5 travel tips you can put to use on your next trip to help stop human trafficking.
Book Your Hotel or Flight With a Company That Follows the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct
One of the best ways to help stop human trafficking is to put your money where your mouth is and only book your hotel or flight with a company that follows the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct. According to Ecpat USA, The Code is a “voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.” The Code’s guidelines are as follows:
- “Establish a 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 contracts throughout the value chain 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 their implementation of Code related activities.”
You can find a list of U.S.-based companies that are implementing The Code here.
Know the Signs of Human Trafficking at Hotels and Airlines
We say this often but if you want to fight trafficking, you have to know what it looks like. Ecpat has a helpful list of signs to look for at hotels and airports when you’re traveling. Anyone that acts uncomfortable, out of place, or like they are being controlled by someone else should be a red flag. Additionally, children who look scared, abused, or nervous being escorted by a much older adult should be cause for concern.
Contact a Human Trafficking Organization the Moment You See Something “Off”
Knowing the signs of human trafficking isn’t enough to stop human trafficking. You have to be on the lookout for trafficking as you travel and, as soon as you see something suspicious, report it. But what if I am wrong and it isn’t trafficking? Reporting a false alarm is better than neglecting to report a true threat.
If you have reason to believe someone is being trafficked, you can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888, or text: HELP to BeFree (233733). Or call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Call Center: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Do Not Handle Potential Trafficking Situations Yourself
As stated above, if you see signs of trafficking, call a trafficking organization. Do not approach the victim or suspected trafficker. Traffickers are dangerous, may be armed with a weapon, and may harm victims if they think someone is onto them. So as much as you want to rescue victims from their situation, the safest thing for you and for them is to contact someone who has the experience and manpower to take down the perpetrators.
Use Tools Like Traffickcam to Help Catch Traffickers
Did you know that every time you stay at a hotel, you can help authorities find victims and bring traffickers to justice? TraffickCam, a tool developed by Exchange Initiative, is “a simple phone app that uses crowdsourced snapshots of hotel rooms to help law enforcement locate victims and prosecute sex traffickers,” CNN’s Katy Scott explains. “Any travelers pit stopping at a hotel can turn on their phone’s GPS location and upload photos of the room from four different angles to TraffickCam’s database. The idea is that law enforcement agencies can then check adverts featuring suspected trafficking victims in hotel rooms against TraffickCam’s database of photos.”