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TO THE MACS: Macworld 2012 brought more than 25,000 Apple product enthusiasts to San Francisco for music performances, art shows, film

screenings, product demonstrations, and more — all conducted on every iProduct you can imagine. For a Post Con report on Macworld, see p. 20.

PLENARY E

Child Sex Trafficking

CPAT-USA, THE U.S.-BASED ARM OF ECPAT (Ending Child Prostitution and Trafficking) International, is the first to admit that

there is “a startling array of contradictory and unconfirmed statistics” relating to the number of children who are being sexually trafficked in the United States and around the world. But one thing is not disputed: Child sex

trafficking often happens within the framework of the meetings and hospitality industry. Children are housed in and moved through hotels. They’re transported along the same routes as business and leisure travelers. And large-scale live events such as the Super Bowl or a city-wide trade show can bring spikes in child sex tourism.

ON_THE_WEB: To learn more about ECPAT’s codes of conduct, visit

http://ecpatusa.org/ what-we-do/ protect/the-code.

www.pcma.org

Which means that meetings and hospitality professionals are in a position to do something about it. And some of them are. Following up on ECPAT International’s Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, which is aimed at tour operators and hotels, ECPAT- USA has partnered with St. Louis–based Nix Conference & Meeting Management to develop a Meeting Planner’s Code of Conduct. Nix became the first company to sign the new code in January — coinciding with National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

WORDS OF HONOR: Why meeting planners? “If your conference is big enough,” Nix’s Molly Hackett said, “traffickers know that.”

“Conference and meeting planners are in a unique position in the travel and tourism industry, because they work with both the general public and with venues for events,” said Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA’s private sector project coordinator. “Their interactions with the general public raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking, and when they contract with the travel industry, they can help persuade them to get involved with the [travel and tourism] code of conduct.” Molly Hackett, a principal at Nix, said: “We know that when we walk into a [meeting] facility, we’re a big fish for the four or five days that we’re there. And it’s really easy for us to get an audience while we’re there. … The other part is, [child sex trafficking] follows with conferences. If your conference is big enough, traffickers know that, so [as a planner] you have the ability to educate people. You have an

continued on page 21 pcma convene March 2012 17

Meetings Against

News and notes for the meetings and conventions industry

MACWORLD PHOTO BY ASA MATHAT

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