SEATTLE

Meeting Professionals International Washington State Chapter (MPIWSC) and ECPAT-USA are proud to announce that MPIWSC is the third Seattle-based company and the first MPI Chapter to sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code).

The Code is a set of six guidelines travel and tourism companies implement to put in place policies and programs to prevent and react to instances of child sex trafficking. As a signatory of the Code, MPIWSC will commit to raising awareness of child trafficking among its travel supplier and buyer members and encourage them to sign the Code.

MPIWSC’s membership will go a long way in raising awareness about the issue in an industry that is especially instrumental in identifying victims.

Traffickers transport their victims by bus, air travel, train, or even by taxi. The victims are then commonly moved to hotels where they are sold for days on end. The Internet is now a preferred method for the recruitment and sale of children, which has moved off the streets and often takes place behind the closed doors of local hotel rooms. These changes have put the travel and tourism industry in a unique position to spot trafficking.

“As a chapter and leaders in our industry, it’s important for us to bring this awareness to the forefront of our community,"  said Jeannette Davidson, director of sales, Geoteaming and President of Meeting Professionals International Washington State Chapter. "It’s encouraging to know The Code exists and that we can be part of the solution by raising awareness in our community and helping to pave the way for others to adopt the same principles."

As an association signatory of the Code, MPIWSC will create a policy against child sexual exploitation, educate members on the issue, and report annually to ECPAT-USA. The more individuals that are educated in the travel and tourism industry, the less secure traffickers will be about running their illicit operations.

MPIWSC’s efforts as a member of the Code will contribute to ECPAT-USA’s mission to stop child slavery at the source.

“Meeting Professionals International Washington State Chapter’s network will help to spread the word about the important roles for both travel buyers and suppliers in protecting children,” said Michelle Guelbart, director of Private Sector Engagement at ECPAT-USA. “We hope their efforts will work as a multiplier, encouraging more companies to take a stand to protect children.”

For more information about the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct and how your company can get involved in combating child sex trafficking, visit www.ecpatusa.org.

More About ECPAT-USA and MPIWSC

ECPAT-USA is the leading policy organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of the ECPAT International network, with offices in 73 countries. For more information about becoming a member of the Code, please contact: Michelle Guelbart ECPAT-USA 718.935.9192 or michelle@ecpatusa.org.

The MPI Washington State Chapter (MPIWSC) was chartered in 1981 with 50 members and has grown to over 300 members. Servicing the entire state of Washington, MPIWSC's mission is to elevate members to the next level - empowering them to increase their strategic value with education, professional development and business growth opportunities.

MPIWSC promotes this mission through a strong and committed membership engaged in volunteerism within the chapter and community. MPIWSC offers eight monthly educational programs each year along with six networking and celebratory events and numerous outreach opportunities. For more information please visit www.mpiwsc.org.