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The following article from the Interfaith Children’s Movement (ICM) presents an issue and action for all Methodists. Before our churches, various organizations, and conferences spend money for accommodations, we can take an action that can change a major factor in the sexual exploitation of our children. Some chain hotels already support the Child-Protection Code of Conduct. Where we spend our money is fundamentally a moral issue. All the more reason to “Ask Before You Book.” ~ Luther E. Smith, Jr., Campaign Coordinator

Interfaith Children’s Movement Launches Child Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Campaign to Raise Awareness in the Hospitality Industry

Interfaith Children’s Movement has launched a state-wide campaign called, “Ask Before You Book,” to raise awareness within the interfaith community and the hospitality industry of the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children in Georgia. The campaign asks faith communities to pose three basic questions to potential lodging facilities prior to booking their conference, convention, meeting or other activity:

  • Does your company have a formal written policy in its annual report against human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children?
  • Does your company provide annual anti-human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation of children awareness and response training for its employees?
  • Does your company include anti-human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation of children messaging in each lodging facility’s brochures?

“ICM believes that if the interfaith community begins to ask these questions, then the hospitality industry will being to respond with a movement towards making their lodgings safer places for all children,” says Pamela Perkins Carn, coordinator of the Interfaith Children’s Movement. Studies have shown that anywhere from 250 to 500 girls are sold for sex each month in Georgia. The average age of entry for a child into the commercial sex trade is 12 - 14 years old. A 2010 study by The Shapiro Group, reported that on average, 7,200 men knowingly or unknowingly purchase adolescent females for sex each month in Georgia.

Join members of the Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children family and other faithful child advocates July 17-21 for Children’s Defense Fund’s (CDF's) 2017 Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute “Hope for Our Children: From Weeping to Working for Justice for Our Children.” Clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children will gather for spiritual renewal, networking, movement-building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the intersection of race and poverty. This intergenerational, interracial and multi-ethnic gathering is a profound experience of Beloved Community in the serene setting of CDF Haley Farm, once home to Roots author Alex Haley, in Clinton, Tennessee.

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