Tell Choice Hotels to Prevent Child Prostitution on Their Watch

December 11, 2009

Right now, children are falling prey to sex trafficking in American-owned hotels all over the world, and even right here at home. Just last month, 5-year-old Shaniya Davis was last seen alive at a Comfort Inn in North Carolina. Companies like Choice Hotels, the parent company of the Comfort Inn where Shaniya was last seen alive, have the power to help prevent this kind of tragedy. Send a letter to Choice Hotels asking them to prevent child prostitution here.

Choice Hotels can help prevent child prostitution with one simple action: signing the ECPAT Code of Conduct (www.thecode.org). More than 900 companies around the world (very few of them from the U.S.) have been willing to take this simple, effective action. By refusing to commit to eradicating child sex trafficking, American-owned hotels are signaling their indifference to the plight of children.

Beginning in  2004, the child protection-focused nonprofit ECPAT-USA has asked major U.S.-based hotel chains to sign the Code of Conduct. Carlson Companies — owners of Radisson, Country Inn & Suites, and others — proudly declared their commitment to protecting children. A few others made some positive steps, but ultimately failed to embrace the full range of actions they can and should take.  According to Amanda Kloer, Choice Hotels has not returned correspondence regarding the recent tragedy at one of their hotels or outlined the steps they intend to take to prevent what happened to Shaniya from happening to other girls. Why won’t Choice Hotels prevent child prostitution?

The most shocking thing about the pimping of Shaniya Davis for sex at a North Carolina Choice Hotels property is that this is not the first child prostitution scandal the brand has faced. Earlier this year, a 14-year-old girl was reported to have been forced into prostitution at a Quality Inn in Ontario, also owned by Choice. In Pittsburg, law enforcement agents caught one man trying to buy sex with a 10-year-old girl in the parking lot of another Quality Inn. Given these troublesome incidents, you would think Choice Hotels would want to address this problem before it grows. How many more children must be sold on their properties before they take action?

You can take action to prevent child prostitution by sending a letter to Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joyce, telling him to sign the ECPAT Code of Conduct and commit to preventing child sex tourism in Choice Hotel hotels.

The ECPAT Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children From Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.

Under this voluntary Code, a company agrees to:

1. Establish an ethical policy regarding commercial sexual exploitation of children

2. Train the personnel in the country of origin and travel destinations.

3. Introduce a clause in contracts with suppliers, stating the common repudiation of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

4. Provide information to travelers by means of catalogues, brochures, in-flight films, ticketslips, web-sites, etc.

5. Provide information to local ”key persons” at the destinations.

6. Report annually.

Together, we can end child prostitution.

Link to Petition on Change.org – http://bit.ly/7JbXKX

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