Public Release: 

International sex trafficking conference at the University of Minnesota

Examining the role of the tourism industry in preventing child exploitation

University of Minnesota

An international conference at the University of Minnesota from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Friday, April 21, will address the ways some parts of the travel and tourism industry are attempting to curb child sex trafficking throughout the world. "United Front for Children: Global Efforts to Combat Sexual Trafficking of Children in Travel and Tourism" will feature keynote addresses by Ann Veneman, executive director of UNICEF; John Miller, director of Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking of Persons, U.S. Department of State; and Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chair and CEO of Carlson Companies. The event will be held at the Coffman Union Theater, 300 Washington S.E., Minneapolis, and is free and open to the public.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. A consequence of easy and cheap global travel is an increase in the reported sexual exploitation of children in tourist destinations. Conference sessions will attempt to answer questions such as: What are the forces that shape the current patterns of commercial sexual exploitation of children relating to tourism? What are the factors that lead to children being trafficked and what international and local institutions need to be engaged in prevention? And, how does child sex trafficking take place in different regions of the world and how are solutions being tailored to address regional specifications of the problem?

"This conference will help us identify ways we can work together to stop sexual exploitation of children in tourist destinations," states Barbara Frey, director of the Human Rights Program at the University of Minnesota. "We need to build serious roadblocks to the demand for children in the sex trade while addressing the root causes that push children into these horrific forms of exploitation."

In addition to examining ways the travel and tourism industries can combat child sex trafficking, a major goal of the conference is to create collaborative initiatives with other sectors, including government, academia and non-profit organizations to end these violations.

Frey and others are available for interviews prior to the conference. For more information about the conference call (612) 624-8038 or visit the Web site


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