Human trafficking awareness among five focus areas

Sabre’s journey in the fight against human trafficking has gone from zero to warp speed in a short 17 months. We first signed the ECPAT Code of Conduct in September 2012, and then partnered the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Transportation, and also with really smart nonprofit organizations and fellow travel companies to ramp up our knowledge.  We are still learning, but are thankful that we can bring a voice to this important conversation.

Today we take a huge leap forward by announcing our partnership with the United Nations in launching “Your Actions Count – Be a Responsible Traveller” campaign.  This is a global, UN-led campaign to fight human trafficking, protect wildlife, preserve cultural artifacts, and create awareness about illicit drugs and counterfeit goods. It encourages travellers to take action through responsible consumer choices and to alert authorities of suspicious situations.

The campaign is jointly led by three UN agencies: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Sabre teams with Marriott in this year-long campaign, which launched at ITB-Berlin today. My colleague Alex Alt, president and general manager of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, participated on a panel at ITB with the heads of these three UN agencies, as well as Kathleen Matthews, executive vice president & chief global communications & public affairs officer for Marriott.

Bruce Charendoff, Sabre’s senior vice president of government & external affairs, shares his perspective, “Fighting human trafficking is Sabre’s top social responsibility initiative, and we therefore jumped at the opportunity to partner with the United Nations to raise awareness of this widespread crime among the millions of travellers we serve around the world.  We will broadly share the Responsible Traveller campaign message on our Travelocity and online travel agencies, our TripCase mobile app, as well as through our GetThere corporate booking tool for companies that choose to participate.

“Traffickers commonly use unwitting travel industry participants in their activities. By working together, we can educate travellers and industry players and begin to eradicate this vicious crime.   We can also give hope to its victims,” he said.

Traveling is a privilege that carries responsibilities. Alex, Bruce, and I encourage your active participation in sharing this Responsible Traveller campaign.