CLM’s Annual Conference tackles human trafficking
By Eric Gilkey
Think human trafficking—the selling and coercion of children and adults for sex and non-consensual labor—is somebody else’s problem? Think again. The risk crosses socioeconomic, educational, political, racial, ideological, diversity, and industry lines.
In one of the most thought-provoking topics at CLM’s Annual Conference last month, “Human Trafficking: The Silent Risk,” session presenters Lance Ewing (Cotton Holdings Inc.), Jeremy Mahugh (DeliverFund), Marisa Trasatti (Wilson Elser), and John Wall (Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance) discussed a risk management framework to help create a corporate awareness and response to the silent risk of human trafficking. We chatted with Ewing to find out more on this topic, which many may know little about.
What led you to propose this session for the annual conference?
Human trafficking is a growing concern not only socially, but also in the business world, specifically in service industries. We wanted to develop awareness and education on labor and sexual trafficking for risk managers, claims professionals, and in-house attorneys. The panel of experts, including John Wall, one of the law enforcement leaders on human trafficking in Texas, provided many unique insights and tips.
Why was this topic important to present at the show?
CLM has always been at the forefront of presenting distinctive and emerging topics for risk, claims, and litigation professionals. Human trafficking is a hidden risk and a potential claims nightmare for companies that are not prepared. Litigation and claims are on the horizon for hospitality and other service industries as it relates to human trafficking. With claims professionals, legal counsel, carriers, and risk professionals in the audience, CLM’s Annual Conference is the best place to present the findings and materials.
Is there claims and litigation-related activity related to this topic already happening? If so, what are you seeing?
Our attorney panelist speaker, Marisa Trasatti, is handling the first-ever human trafficking lawsuit against a hotel group in the United States. These types of claims are the tip of the spear when it comes to the next litigation vertical. Human trafficking is not just sexual in nature; it also includes labor trafficking. I am confident that litigation is forthcoming for the latter.
What is the one thing you hoped attendees left knowing after attending your presentation?
We tried to heighten the consciousness and the response to human trafficking in various business segments where this hidden risk continues to flourish. Preparedness, responsiveness, and training opportunities are the areas we focused on.
Did anything surprise you during the presentation?
Since this is a developing risk exposure for claims and litigation, what was most surprising to me was the audience interaction. There were excellent questions and candid discussions on risk management prevention recommendations, how law enforcement and businesses can work together, and strategies for legally defending human trafficking claims. I have presented in the past at CLM’s Annual Conference and that experience is always of value, but more than anything is that raising social awareness on this activity is just the right thing to do, and I think we were able to accomplish that with our discussion.