World-renowned hospitality brand continues partnership with country’s leading anti-child trafficking organization by educating and engaging over 1 million high school students on risks
HOLLYWOOD, Fla., May 26, 2022/ Hard Rock International announced it has signed the ECPAT Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, the world’s first and only voluntary set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.
For several years, Hard Rock has implemented comprehensive protocols, trained over 27,000 hotel and casino team members globally, and collaborated with community partners and advocacy groups, in an effort to prevent human trafficking. Earlier this year, Hard Rock and ECPAT-USA launched the Social Identity Quest, a program designed to educate youth on self-protecting against the risks of being lured online. Today, Hard Rock and ECPAT-USA are proud to share the program has reached, educated and engaged over 1 million high school students across the USA.
“By signing the ECPAT Code, we are honored to play a role in helping strengthen our industry’s response to human trafficking. Social purpose is the life of Hard Rock and our motto ‘Take Time to be Kind’ exemplifies our commitment to addressing and preventing sexual, labor and other forms of exploitation of children and vulnerable people, while supporting human rights,” said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, who joined Marcellus W. Osceola Jr., Chairman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Lori L. Cohen, CEO of ECPAT-USA, and Harold F. Pryor, Broward County State Attorney to sign the Code. “Hard Rock team members around the globe remain committed to working with non-profit organizations, government officials and the communities we operate in to serve as an example within the hospitality and entertainment industry.”
The ECPAT Code is a joint venture of the tourism and hospitality sectors and ECPAT-USA, the leading policy organization in the U.S. seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The Code offers a framework for companies to establish policies and protocols, provide training, education and support to collaborate with allied services in local communities, such as survivor support groups and law enforcement.
Hard Rock’s Social Identity Quest, with content developed by experts at ECPAT-USA and EduNetwork Partners, launched nationally in January 2022. The results from this innovative program show that we can increase students’ online safety literacy by 13% on average, based on a learning evaluation.
“Effective education is essential for preventing exploitation and protecting young people so we partnered with Hard Rock to create the Social Identity Quest (SIQ), an educational quest game, to prompt student-driven conversations to reflect on online habits and emphasize healthy decision making,” said Lori L. Cohen, CEO of ECPAT-USA. “More and more, exploiters are using social media to identify and contact young people. The fact that we have reached more than 1 million students across 45 states in a few months shows how valuable and urgently needed this program is.”
Human trafficking disproportionately victimizes indigenous communities. Survey data from four regions across the US and Canada found an average of 40 percent of women involved in sex trafficking identified indigenous or First Nations, despite representing only 10 per cent of the population in those places.
Given the strong demand for the program, Hard Rock and ECPAT-USA are exploring adapting it to support Indigenous American communities across the country, and working with ECPAT-Mexico to reach student populations in Mexico.
“To protect children and vulnerable people we must collaborate across law enforcement, state attorneys’ offices, community groups and industry,” said Harold F. Pryor, Broward County State Attorney. “We are happy to join Hard Rock, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and ECPAT-USA in their efforts to combat human trafficking here in South Florida and around the world.”
Photo assets from the signing of the ECPAT Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct can be found here. For more information about ECPAT-USA and the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, please visit www.ecpatusa.org. For more information about Hard Rock’s social purpose and mottos, please visit: www.hardrock.com/living-our-mottos.aspx.
About Hard Rock®
Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies with venues in 68 countries spanning 253 locations that include owned/licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Live Performance Venues and Cafes. HRI also launched a joint venture named Hard Rock Digital in 2020, an online sportsbook, retail sportsbook and internet gaming platform. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia at more than 86,000 pieces, which are displayed at its locations around the globe. In 2021, Hard Rock was honored as one of Forbes Magazine’s Best Employers for Diversity, a Top Employer for Women and the Top Employer in the Travel & Leisure, Gaming, and Entertainment Industry. Hard Rock was also designated as a U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal and named the top performing hotel brand in J.D. Power’s North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study for the third consecutive year in 2021. The brand is owned by HRI parent entity The Seminole Tribe of Florida. For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com or shop.hardrock.com.
ECPAT-USA is the leading anti-child trafficking organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of ECPAT International, a network of organizations in 104 countries with one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children around the world. For more information, visit www.ecpatusa.org.