We were just getting back from a lunch break when I was approached by one of the younger guests on my tour. She said that she had been getting strange and inappropriate text messages from someone she didn’t know asking to meet up locally.
This was when my intuition went off and I felt like I had to take immediate action. I contacted the authorities and they were able to trace the mobile device to a local person and eventually arrested them…
Did you know that more than 2,000 people are sold or kidnapped and forced into slavery every day?
That’s over 83 an hour and that’s just the reported cases!
More than 25 million people around the globe are victims of human trafficking. Black, indigenous, people of color, children, and all marginalized communities are more likely to be trafficked.
Human Trafficking is an issue that affects all of us, even in our own backyard.
Do a google search on “human trafficking news” in your own city, county, or state and you’ll find the sobering truth that human trafficking is in every neighborhood around the world.
On this Human Trafficking Awareness Day in 2021, ITMI is renewing our commitment to repairing this rip in humanity’s soul.
Back in December of 2011, ITMI began a shared journey of bringing about awareness of human trafficking to the travel community.
Heart to heart, we became vulnerable as we walked through the darkness. Together we shared stories about the suffering of enslaved women, men, and children. During our conversations, we cried together for those courageous enough to share their individual pain about themselves personally and within their family.
Through it all each of you said I won’t forget, I will tell others what I learned.
With your efforts we have…
- Saved 8 children from being trafficked
- Broke a World Record for Awareness
- Created an ITMI Safe House in Haiti
- Built a free online training course for travel leaders and professionals in partnership with EastguidesWest
- Integrated Human Trafficking into our tour guide and tour director certification training programs
- Brought Human Trafficking Awareness training and conversations to our Symposium and other industry conferences
- Supported ECPAT USA (a worldwide network of organizations working to end the sexual exploitation of children)
- Supported Airline Ambassadors International
- Created programs inside hotels
- Work within organizations and non-profits to help eradicate trafficking.
What can you do to help?
Today, we continue to ask, how can we stop this inhumanity to mankind.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 and the heightened unrest worldwide the gains once realized in stopping human trafficking are quickly eroding.
Lockdowns, border closures, and job losses have driven traffickers underground. They are expanding their reach through the misuse of the internet and communication technologies to lure and groom children into on-line exploitation.
We invite you to take part in conversations we started 8 years ago, this time virtually.
What to do:
- Sign up for the ITMI “Spot & Stop Human Trafficking” online training course. Use the coupon code “hta2021” to get it for FREE.
- Share it on Facebook and other social media platforms with other tour guides, tour directors, tour operators, industry partners, guilds, and associations as well as in your home communities and families.
Human Trafficking is bigger than just the travel industry. Together we can make a difference!
This year we’re also excited to partner with Tourism Cares, a 501c3 industry-supported non-profit that unites the travel industry to help people and places thrive. Together we believe the tourism industry has the power to create meaningful and sustained change for our industry, our travelers, and the communities in which we visit.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do in bringing light into another.