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by Matt Alderton | December 14, 2015
Hyatt Hotels Corp. has joined the fight against human trafficking by signing the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, an effort by anti-trafficking group End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) to create a community of tourism businesses dedicated to finding and stopping human traffickers.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 100,000 children have been sexually abused and exploited in the United States in the past year, and millions more are exploited around the world. Travel infrastructure is sometimes used in trafficking and exploitation, through commercial airlines and buses used to transport children, online classifieds used to lure travelers, and hotel rooms used as sites of abuse.

ECPAT's Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct is the only voluntary, industry-driven set of guidelines that focuses on the elimination of child exploitation and trafficking.

"Given Hyatt's ongoing efforts to proactively fight human trafficking, we feel that ECPAT's Code of Conduct is a reflection of that commitment," said Brigitta Witt, Hyatt's global head of corporate responsibility. "Standing against human trafficking is a natural extension of our commitment to positively impacting the communities where we operate."

Hyatt's partnership with ECPAT is an extension of efforts begun in 2012, when it partnered with anti-trafficking organization Polaris to launch a mandatory global human trafficking training program for Hyatt-owned and -managed hotels. Also available to Hyatt franchisees, the training has since been taken by 54,000 Hyatt colleagues.

Hyatt also has blocked onsite Internet access to several websites commonly used for human trafficking across all U.S. hotels.

"We are thrilled to see Hyatt reaffirm their efforts to protect children," said Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT-USA's director of private sector engagement. "Signing the code demonstrates their strong long-term commitment to ensuring that mission and we are excited to work together and know they will help us make a difference."