Investors Commend Delta Airways for Efforts to Stop the Trafficking of Children

Mar 18, 2011, 15:18 ET from Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility Applaud Delta for its leadership in adopting the Tourism Code of Conduct (The Code) and encourage other carriers to follow suit.

NEW YORK, March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After intense engagement with management on company human rights policies, ICCR members and shareholders were heartened by Delta Air Ways' announcement last week that it had signed The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (The Code). Pledging to educate its employees on ways to identify and report suspected incidents of human trafficking, Delta has taken an important step as the first U.S. carrier to sign The Code.

It is estimated that human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, impacts over 27 million people annually, and as many as 2 million children. Kidnapped and often transported across international borders for the purposes of forced labor, the commercial sex trade or both, these children become hapless victims in a $32 billion black-market business that today remains largely underground.

To avoid becoming the unwitting facilitators of traffickers, hotel chains and airlines are being asked to scrutinize their operations. It is hoped that formal human rights policies including the education of employees will help authorities uncover traffickers and protect potential victims.

Led by Christian Brothers Investment Services, ICCR members recently launched a campaign to alert hotel chains and travelers and sponsors to the increased dangers of trafficking during large sporting events like the World Cup and the Super Bowl, which resulted in Carlson Hotels signing The Code.

Sister Valerie Heinonen of Mercy Investment Services, who has worked with ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) and Delta to promote The Code said:

"While most companies are reluctant to discuss human trafficking for fear of tarnishing their images, Delta understood that the only way to eradicate this shameful practice is to actively protect against it in its operations. As people of faith we are morally bound to protect the vulnerable, especially children, but as Delta shareholders we are also concerned for our company's reputational risk."

Sister Judy Byron of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S. Ontario Province, said:

"We encourage travelers flying Delta to thank the flight crew for the company's commitment to protect children from sexual exploitation. And when flying other airlines, challenge them to sign on to The Code and help prevent the trafficking of our children."  

Sister Nora Nash, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, another ICCR member who has been encouraging Australian carrier, Qantas, to sign The Code said:

"Thanks, Delta, for your leadership on this vital issue. In this case, being the first is first class! We won't stop until every carrier and every hotel signs The Code and this egregious abuse is completely eradicated. We'll know we've been successful when every child is free."

ICCR members have also been in discussions with both Southwest Airlines and U.S. Airways about signing on to The Code.

About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR):

Currently celebrating its 40th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change.  Its 300 member organizations with over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world.

SOURCE Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility



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