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Doing the Right Thing: Putting an end to human trafficking in 2018

MPI & Caesars Entertainment Work to Put an End to Human Trafficking

Put an end to human trafficking in 2018.

How’s that for a New Year’s resolution … 

This year, MPI and your member magazine, The Meeting Professional, are committed to raising awareness and finding solutions to ending human trafficking. So is David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Global Events. So is Sister Kathleen Bryant, a Religious Sister of Charity from Los Angeles and a member of the board of directors for U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. So is Caesars Entertainment, the sponsor of this month’s issue of The Meeting Professional. So is MPI’s Washington State Chapter, which has been working on the issue, including partnering with the nonprofit Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking for a panel discussion several years ago.

Paul Van Deventer, MPI president and CEO, was so moved after hearing a presentation by Bryant he invited her to address the entire MPI global team at our annual All Team Summit in December, telling us he will raise awareness and push for reform against human trafficking with or without us.

Related Article: Tackling The Human Trafficking Issue In The Events and Hospitality Industry

The numbers around human trafficking are staggering. Our special feature story in this month’s issue, “Stepping Up” (Page 55), reports an estimated 21 million people around the world are exploited in human trafficking, according to UNICEF. Although many people believe it is confined to developing economies where predators take advantage of impoverished people, traffickers have a foothold around the world. In the U.S., for instance, 7,572 cases of trafficking were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2016, up 35.7 percent from 2015.

Sadly, human trafficking and the meeting industry are intertwined. Sex trafficking often spikes during big events and conventions. Hotel rooms and airlines can be unwittingly involved.

“There is a growing momentum around the hospitality industry between hotel managers and conference planners to do something and to be leaders in terms of fighting some of the trafficking that goes on, especially for children,” Bryant told us.

This must-read special report offers insight, background and tips about what you can do now to combat this important issue. We are just starting the conversation. Be sure to follow The Meeting Professional and the MPI blog throughout 2018 for our ongoing coverage about the toll of human trafficking and what can be done to help victims.

This is a just one of several important stories in our first issue of 2018. We go behind the scenes in “Breaking New Ground” (Page 48) with Karyn Steenkamp (MPI Southern California Chapter), vice president of design and construction for Caesars Entertainment, who talks about the company’s exciting new conference center, CAESARS FORUM, and the flexibility and collaboration behind great meeting spaces.

Breaking New Ground
Rendering: Caesars Forum, a 550,000-square-foot convention center in Las Vegas.

Related Article: Caesars Entertainment Announces Plans for New Convention Center in Las Vegas

In our report “Impacting Communities” (Page 62), we learn how giving back to the community is an important value for Caesars Entertainment, which partners with two service-oriented organizations to help better the lives of those less fortunate.

In another initiative for 2018, The Meeting Professional will look for opportunities to showcase the rising generation of young professionals in our industry. We’ll talk about their challenges, their dreams and their successes, and we start with Martha Morales (MPI Southern California Chapter), general manager of the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, in our monthly member profile, Who We Are (Page 16).

There’s something else about who we are. We’re an association of meeting and event professionals committed to doing the right thing, whether we’re innovating our industry with new facilities, giving back to our communities or recognizing a wrong that must be eradicated.

Welcome to 2018.

Until next time…


Watch MPItv videos in our digital edition to learn more about what groups can expect at the new CAESARS FORUM and the life-changing impact of Clean the World.

About the Author

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is director of publishing for MPI and editor in chief of The Meeting Professional.