The World Cup is expected to bring a half-million tourists to the Federation Internationale de Football Association soccer championship matches played in South Africa starting in June. Some of the visitors also will be interested in attractions off the field, involving sex workers.
Christian Brothers Investment Services Inc. — a New York-based socially responsible investment firm that manages $3.8 billion in assets exclusively for Catholic institutions worldwide — is taking a keen interest in combating human trafficking and child sex tourism associated with the World Cup events, June 11 through July 11.
CBIS sent two letters — April 12 and April 20 — detailing its initiative to CEOs and owners of eight hotel chains in South Africa, including InterContinental, Hyatt, Starwood, Accor, Carlson and Best Western. The CBIS initiative asks the hotel operators to take action to prevent sexual exploitation of children and other human trafficking crimes.
“CBIS doesn't have any direct South African investments, but does own shares” of Accor and Starwood, spokeswoman Carol Graumann said.
In the second letter, Francis G. Coleman, CBIS executive vice president, wrote, “While not responsible for this tragic crime, the travel and lodging industry is well-positioned to help prevent human trafficking by collaborating and taking steps to stop the use of your hotels for these purposes.”
Joining him as signatories to the letter are representatives of more than 300 other socially responsible shareholders and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.
Accor and Carlson both “have provided substantive responses about the work they're doing in South Africa, including training and monitoring,” Ms. Graumann said. — Barry B. Burr