Business travelers can help combat modern slavery

In the airport, on the plane, in hotels or our communities, we all can help combat human trafficking by watching for and reporting signs of exploitation and modern slavery.

More than 40 million people around the world are trapped in modern-day slavery, and a quarter of them are children. Human trafficking routinely spikes during heightened travel times like the holiday season and major sporting events. Traffickers often use air travel to transport victims and use hotels as places to abuse them. The travel industry is uniquely positioned to help end human trafficking by watching for and reporting the signs.

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is the recruitment, movement, harboring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation. This includes the crimes of human trafficking, slavery practices such as servitude, forced labor, forced marriage and the sale and exploitation of children. Profits from these crimes are estimated at US$150 billion per year.

If every traveler knows the signs and safe ways to help, we can put an end to the commercial and sexual exploitation of humans.

What are some possible signs of human trafficking?

  • Suspected victim who appears to lack access to or control of travel documents and money​; their passport is held by someone else
  • Minimal luggage/clothing​ 
  • Suspected victim seems disoriented and lost​ 
  • Suspected victim is restricted in movement and speech; they act as though they are under instruction​ 
  • Inadequate language skills
  • Suspected trafficker is seen with many young children​ 
  • Suspected trafficker insists on paying solely in cash​ 
  • Suspected victim and/or trafficker have minimal interaction and eye contact with others​ 
  • Suspected victim has indications of physical and emotional abuse​ 

​ What should you do if you notice signs of human trafficking? 

  • Don’t look away; observe as much as possible; remember location, clothing, descriptions, how many people, the time and any names used 
  • Do not confront the child or adult 
  • Discreetly alert authorities or security personnel near you 

If it is not possible to report to law enforcement, then it is possible to report online using these channels: 

BCD Travel takes human slavery seriously. And we’re doing our part to end it.

BCD Travel formed a global partnership with End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) in 2017. ECPAT is the leading international organization seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. We partnered with them because it’s another way we express our passion for helping others. The partnership with ECPAT aligns with our participation in The Code, a multi-member initiative of the travel industry. The Code encourages members to provide educational tools and support initiatives to end the sexual exploitation of children.

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