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Delta Airlines Signs Tourism Code of Conduct

March 11th, 2011

First Major Airline to Combat Global Child Trafficking

Delta Air Lines has become the first major airline in the world to enter the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing the tourism Code of Conduct (The Code). The Code specifically focuses on the protection of children from sexual exploitation in the travel and tourism industries. While The Code has been signed by almost 1,000 travel industry members worldwide, Delta is the first U.S. air carrier and the third U.S. organization to sign.

ECPAT (a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies to protect sexually exploited children) has put forward the Code of Conduct as a joint venture with the tourism private sector to stop the trafficking of children.

Sister Valerie Heinonen of Mercy Investment Services (and long-time ICCR member) was instrumental in the creation of this new partnership with Delta Air Lines. ICCR members have been pressing companies in corporate dialogs to take action against child and sex trafficking for several years.

As a subscriber to The Code, Delta will implement policies that condemn child trafficking and provide training to help their employees identify and report trafficking activities. Delta will also raise awareness among customers by including information about ECPAT (a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies to protect sexually exploited children) and the Code in its Sky magazine and website.

According to Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA, the purpose of The Code is to prevent and mitigate child trafficking, as well as encourage a socially responsible, child-wise tourism industry.

“All travel companies could unwittingly be facilitating the sex trafficking of children. If they do nothing to raise awareness or to prevent child trafficking, they risk becoming an indirect and unintentional conduit for the abuse that takes places,” said Smolenski. “We applaud Delta Air Lines for taking the first step toward helping fight the sex trafficking of children that has become a global epidemic.”

“It continues to be a challenge to reach U.S. companies; a lot of companies struggle with the fear that associating their company name with the tragic reality of child sex tourism will hurt their corporate brands or public images,” said Smolenski. “We are thrilled to have a company like Delta pioneering the way for other U.S. airlines and businesses to join this fight.”

“On behalf of Delta and its leadership team, Delta is proud to be the first U.S. airline to sign The Code. We look forward to playing a role in ECPAT’s important mission to raise awareness about and combat child trafficking. Delta prides itself on doing what is right, and this is the morally right thing to do,” said Richard Anderson, CEO, Delta Air Lines.

Other U.S. organizations that have signed The Code include Carlson Companies, which owns the popular Radisson Hotels, and Global Exchange’s Reality Tours. ECPAT has been engaged in ongoing efforts to reach U.S. travel companies and create awareness of their need to provide leadership in tackling child trafficking incidents that can happen within their premises. Delta’s signing of The Code is an important milestone“ in this effort.

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