Mollie Thorsen, A21
Stephanie Olson, The Set Me Free Project
Elisabeth Barna, American Trucking Associations
In an interconnected world, human trafficking is a global problem that touches many industries and business relationships. Traffickers rely on the transportation and hospitality sectors for moving and controlling victims and delivering them for commercial sex or forced labor, giving these sectors a critical role as the first line of defense.
On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held the Countering Human Trafficking event to highlight how employers are leading efforts to raise education and awareness to fight human trafficking. It’s not just good business practice, but it’s the right thing to do.
Ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey, chair of the Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, said that the private sector is empowered to lead the fight against this heinous crime based on financial resources and civic leadership. She stressed that businesses cannot do this work alone—they need to partner with governments and non-governmental organizations.
A21’s Can You See Me? campaign, consisting of billboards, posters, and videos, helps the public recognize human trafficking indicators and report suspicious scenarios. Gary L. McCarthy, bureau chief at the Arizona Department of Transportation, discussed a holistic approach, including psychological and medical resources, for human trafficking survivors.
Sinead Bovell, founder and CEO of Weekly Advice for the Young Entrepreneur (WAYE), moderated a discussion with technology experts from Thomson Reuters, IDEMIA North America, and The George Washington University. Panelists emphasized how the convergence of facial recognition software, blockchain, and artificial intelligence help law enforcement identify victims and survivors, noting, however, that the development of these technologies may be biased against racial minorities.
Additional initiatives provided by companies in the hospitality and transportation sectors include the following:
- UPS has teamed up with Truckers Against Trafficking to train drivers to spot signs of sex trafficking.
- Marriott has joined forces with EPCAT-USA and Polaris to train more than 600,000 associates globally at managed and franchised hotels. The hotel chain has collaborated with on-site property associates to develop everyday tools and educational resources such as signage and posters.
Kalyn Stephens at the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Jordan Heiliczer at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Inc. discussed how hoteliers play an important role in coordinating with law enforcement and continuing workforce training.
Through these efforts, industries are among the driving forces in eradicating human trafficking.