Thursday, January 27

Tackling Human Trafficking in the Meetings Industry

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This presentation may include explicit information, media, and/or sensitive discussion around topics which may be disturbing or upsetting for some.   

We acknowledge that this content may be difficult, and encourage you to care for your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Tackling Human Trafficking in the Meetings Industry

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

We’ll speak with a panel of experts to discuss the industry’s efforts to end human trafficking. What steps are being taken by planners and companies to raise awareness and combat it?  How do we recognize the signs that human trafficking is taking place at our venue? What is the role that meeting planners should play?

Both PCMA and MPI have taken up the cause, and hotels are leading the way by joining ECPAT-USA to provide training to thousands of hotel employees through the AHLA Foundation’s “No Room for Trafficking” program.

Join Reston Herndon Meeting Planners in an engaging and informative virtual session on this important topic to see how you can potentially also share a part in combating human trafficking. 


Yvonne Chen Director of Private Sector Engagement, ECPAT USA

Yvonne Chen

Director of Private Sector Engagement, ECPAT USA

Yvonne’s role is to ensure businesses and relevant stakeholders understand how human traffickers and child exploiters use business structures to exploit victims and identify, develop, and/or deploy tools and best practices to stop it. She brings a unique perspective having been a live-in coordinator for a residential program for those who have experienced sex trafficking and a decade providing direct services to trafficked persons. She is a fluent Mandarin speaker and national expert on working with East Asian communities trafficking in massage businesses. She also has expertise in survivor engagement, victim identification, and outreach and training. She has trained and educated tens of thousands of community members and professionals to understand human trafficking and how to identify trafficked people.

MaryAnne Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM  President, Bobrow Associates, Inc.

MaryAnne Bobrow, CAE, CMP, CMM
President, Bobrow Associates, Inc.

MaryAnne Bobrow has more than 20 years of experience in association and meetings management.  She is an active member of and volunteers for multiple industry associations, serving in multiple leadership roles including ASAE Ethics Committee, past chair MPI Chapter Advisory Council, MPI Independent and Small Business Advisory Board Co-chair, and MPI Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, among others.  She has authored chapters for ASAE’s 2021 Edition of Professional Practices in Association Management, Ethics Chapter, CIC Manual, 9th Edition, IAEE’s Art of the Show, 3rd and 4th Editions, and PCMA’s Professional Meeting Management, 5th and 6th Editions, and writes articles for and/or records webinars for industry organizations and magazines. She is a frequent presenter at industry events, with a focus on business acumen and trends, risk management, financial proficiencies, attendee safety and security, cybersecurity, human trafficking awareness, ethics, and disruption innovation for meetings and organizations. 

Christine Cesa, MAICS

Private Sector Engagement Associate and Lived Experience Expert, ECPAT USA

Christine is a survivor of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), specifically familial trafficking, and authored with the State department, Navigating the Unique Complexities of Familial Trafficking, in the 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report. Christine has trained healthcare professionals, social workers, and first responders and has spoken at conferences such as the National Conference on Ending Sexual Exploitation, Crimes Against Women, and the JuST Conference. She has been an advocate and trainer regarding human trafficking, CSEC, and exploitation since 2015. Christine is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary with a Masters in Intercultural Studies with Children at Risk and Ashland University with a Bachelor of Science in Education. She served as a survivor advocate with CAST LA and Dignity Health, responding to victims of violence and survivors of human trafficking and providing emergency services to survivors in the healthcare system. She also developed training materials and has trained clinical healthcare staff throughout the United States.

Special Agent Lara Korson
Virginia State Police

Special Agent Lara Korson is an 18-year veteran of the Virginia State Police. She began her law enforcement career patrolling the major corridors of Northern Virginia as a State Trooper. She later graduated from the Virginia State Police's prestigious Patrol Canine Academy where she worked with her canine partner, Cibo, for six years. In 2017, after serving as a recruiter for the Virginia State Police Human Resources Division for five years, SA Korson was promoted to special agent and assigned to the Virginia State Police, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, General Investigation Section. SA Korson has developed vast experience investigating a multitude of cases including sexual assault crimes, missing persons/runaways, human trafficking, and homicide investigations. SA Korson collaborates with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in matters of mutual interest. She also interacts with prosecutors and victim/witness assistance officials to ensure successful prosecution of her cases. SA Korson attends ongoing training and certification programs to maintain familiarity with the ever-changing trends and patterns related to criminal investigations.

Matt Felix
General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City

A veteran of the hospitality industry, Matt has served as the General Manager for several hotels within Marriott International. Prior to his current role, he was the General Manager at The Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel and the opening Resident Manager for the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC. He held several sales and operational leadership positions in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions before his property leadership roles.

The views and opinions expressed during programs organized by Reston Herndon Meeting Planners (RHMP) are those of the speakers and participants and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of RHMP or its committee members.

Reston Herndon Meeting Planners (RHMP) 

APEX Meetings is the managing agent for RHMP

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