For Immediate Release:
November 8, 2010

Contact:
Brianna Cayo Cotter, Avaaz, +1 415 305 1943, brianna (at) avaaz.org
 

Hilton Worldwide Responds to Avaaz Campaign, Joins Fight Against Sex Trafficking

Global campaigning organization Avaaz urges other hotel chains to follow Hilton’s lead and commit to ECPAT code of conduct to stop child sexual exploitation

Washington, DC - The global campaigning organization Avaaz applauds Hilton Worldwide’s commitment to sign a rigorous global code of conduct and create a network of Hilton employees in 82 countries and 3,600 hotels working against sex trafficking. Prompted by news reports of sexual exploitation in Hilton hotel rooms, over 300,000 Avaaz members from around the globe sent messages of concern to Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta, urging the hotel giant to immediately implement and enforce the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.

“Hotels are on the front lines of the growing and brutal rape trade,” said Ricken Patel, Executive Director at Avaaz. “Our global community is excited that Hilton has taken this crucial first step to stop sex trafficking and we will be watching to ensure it is rigorously enforced. Other major hotel chains have a responsibility to follow Hilton’s lead and stop the horror of sex trafficking that is unfolding behind closed hotel room doors.”

Hilton joins over 900 travel companies that have agreed to train staff to detect and report trafficking victims, educate guests about sex trafficking, and work with suppliers and partners to end child sex trafficking. To date, the Code affects 30 million tourists a year - vastly increasing the chances of arresting those trafficking girls and helping those trapped in the trade. Hilton is the largest hotel chain to commit to this effective code of conduct, while Choice Hotels, Best Western, Hyatt, and Wyndam are among those that have so far refused to sign.

“ECPAT-USA is delighted to have the partnership of a large and respected hotel chain like Hilton Worldwide in our efforts to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children, said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “The private sector has a tremendous role to place in protecting children, and we are thrilled to have this company state that it is willing to play a part by signing the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.”

For more information, visit www.Avaaz.org