LONDON: The World Travel & Tourism Council has announced the formation of a global taskforce to help prevent and combat human trafficking – an illicit activity that affects 30 million victims worldwide, and relies on travel networks to operate.
The taskforce comprises WTTC members and sector associations to become the first global industry-wide initiative to assert zero tolerance and share best practice.
As an ‘industry’, human trafficking is worth $150 billion annually, and contributes heavily to modern slavery, in which 40 million people worldwide are entrapped.
One-quarter of trafficking victims worldwide are children (or 5.5 million).
Meanwhile, 19 per cent of victims are trafficked for sexual purposes, which makes up 66 per cent of the illicit income generated, according to figures from the International Labour Organization.
Human trafficking is present virtually everywhere; yet not all criminalise it in all its forms.
The WTTC taskforce has thus been established for the purposes of:
Prevention: To increase industry and consumer awareness of human trafficking. It is proven the more we know the more can be prevented.
Protection: To train employees and travellers on how to identify and report suspected cases.
Action: To encourage governments to enact legislation which recognises human trafficking as a crime throughout the entire chain and develop resources and support needed such as national hotlines.
Support: To provide assistance, employability training and employment opportunities to survivors.
The founding members of the taskforce are Airbnb, Amex GBT, the Bicester Village Shopping Collection, Ctrip.com International, CWT, Emirates, Expedia Group, Hilton, JTB Corp, Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority, Marriott International, Silversea, Thomas Cook and TUI.
On the formation of the taskforce WTTC president, Gloria Guevara, commented: “Human trafficking is a devastating, widespread and critical issue that unfortunately relies on tourism networks to operate.
“As a sector, we must do everything in our power to help eradicate the problem so that people may move freely and safely across the globe, but never coerced.
“I am proud to today launch this vital taskforce comprised of the world’s most powerful travel leaders from across hotels, retail, airlines, cruise, technology, finance and destination management, and are wholly committed to preventing trafficking, protecting victims, supporting survivors and engaging with governments so that this pandemic ends once and for all.”