Human Trafficking: What Else Can We Do?

Human Trafficking continues to be in the media. Frequently, the newspapers have an article on a raid that caught traffickers and saved their victims. But, the newspapers tell only a part of the story. What they do not tell is the how traffickers use the travel and tourism industry to exploit these women and girls.

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is the buying and selling of a human being. Trafficking comes in many forms. Trafficking can be labor trafficking: working in nail salons, hair braiding, harvesting crops or sweatshops. It is can sex trafficking: forcing mostly women and children, and occasionally men, to prostitute themselves. Whatever form it is in, it is horrific.

Traffickers work under the cover of plain sight. They exist in suburban towns as well as major cities. They kidnap and coerce victims from foreign countries as well as from within the United States. Many a runaway has been or is the victim of a trafficker.

Trafficking is most often depicted as a large ring of traffickers, an organized crime syndicate. But, it is usually the opposite. It is one trafficker, holding a few people against their will. It is a small group that is not easily detected by law enforcement and many times goes unnoticed by by-standers.

That is why, this Convention, we are seeking to support a Code of Conduct for the Travel and Tourism industry that brings light to Human Trafficking and how their hotels, resorts and “exotic” destination packages hide trafficking in plain sight. The resolutions, C061 and C013, which may go under the radar on consent calendars, ask that The Episcopal Church give preference to tourism companies that have signed The Code, which requires staff to become knowledgeable in how to identify trafficking and assist in the fight against it.


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