Hello, I’m Lou CdeBaca, United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. I wanted to take a moment to add my voice to the many others congratulating Marilyn Carlson Nelson for being named the Hotel Investment Conference Asia-Pacific Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.
Marilyn’s contributions to the global fight against trafficking in persons have pioneered corporate involvement in this issue, and the company that bears her name has built a sterling record when it comes to private-sector action to make progress against this crime. Under Marilyn’s leadership, Carlson Companies has set the standard with its efforts to raise awareness of child sex trafficking and child sex tourism. Carlson was the first major North American business to sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism. Carlson has put in place training for hotel staff so that they are better equipped to spot potential trafficking and take appropriate action.
But Marilyn’s work to fight modern slavery hasn’t stopped with her own company. She’s used her connections and worldwide network to promote the Code of Conduct among businesses around the world. Following her significant efforts, Delta Airlines recently became the first American carrier to sign the Code. Carlson Companies has provided financial and logistical assistance to help host trafficking-related conferences and training sessions, and to support the production of Not My Life, a film that will raise awareness about all forms of this horrible crime.
It’s clear that partnerships with the private sector will be critical to the future of this fight. And as we ask how business leaders should approach this issue, we will look first to Marilyn Carlson Nelson who more than anyone has already blazed this path.
On a personal note, Marilyn has been a constant friend and ally to me and to the many others who have made the fight against slavery their lives’ work. Her personal charisma and tireless commitment have remained an inspiration in this sometimes frustrating struggle.
Marilyn, again I want to offer my congratulations. HICAP (High-Cap) couldn’t find a more deserving business leader and advocate to receive this honor. I wish you all the best, and look forward to years of continued partnership.