ECPAT International Awarded Hilton Humanitarian Prize

Prize was awarded at dinner event after exclusive “Humanitarianism & Technology: A Global Game Changer” Symposium Discussed Ways to Alleviate Challenging Issues Affecting the World’s Most Vulnerable Populations

NEW YORK, October 24, 2013 – The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded ECPAT, the leading global network of organizations dedicated to stopping the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), the 2013 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize of $1.5 million, the world’s largest humanitarian prize, at a dinner on October 23, 2013 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

This marks the 18th year the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has presented the Hilton Prize to an organization that is significantly alleviating human suffering. The international Prize jury selected ECPAT, one of approximately 200 nominees received this year, as the recipient in an effort to put a spotlight on the devastating injustices of CSEC.

With the International Labour Organization estimating that up to 1.8 million children are exploited in the commercial sex industry or pornography worldwide generating a $12 billion global market, ECPAT was recognized for its work in combating the evolving ways in which children are sexually exploited. Impacting the growth of this criminal industry is the ever-expanding use of new technologies, the increase of international tourism and the impact of poverty and natural disasters on children’s vulnerabilities.

“It’s hard to hear that children all over the world—including right here in the United States—are being exploited sexually every single day. But they are. In New York City alone, there are nearly 4,000 children being forced against their will to perform sexual acts ranging from prostitution to pornography,” said Steven M. Hilton, president and CEO of the Hilton Foundation. “With today’s advances in technology, the fight to end this frightening crime is getting more complicated. That is why we are proud to present the Hilton Humanitarian Prize to ECPAT International, an organization that is committed to ending these horrific practices online, offline and most importantly, with policy and law enforcement.”

The ceremony took place after the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize Symposium: “Humanitarianism & Technology: A Global Game Changer,” which was a one-day global forum that brought together leaders and policymakers from NGOs, governments, academia, philanthropy and businesses to discuss the factors that impact humanitarian efforts and share their insights on actions and programs that offer promise. Moderated by Ralph Begleiter, Director, Center for Political Community, University of Delaware, the symposium included panels focusing on the impact of technology on water scarcity, food security and global health, along with a panel examining the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV and AIDS. 

Founded 20 years ago to halt child sex tourism in Asia, ECPAT today leads a global social movement dedicated to ending child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Its international secretariat based in Thailand provides technical support and information, forms partnerships with key actors such as law enforcement and the tourism industry, and is an international voice for children who are being exploited sexually for commercial gain. Its 81 member organizations, with 1,450 individual organizations in 74 countries, implement local initiatives to protect children from sexual exploitation and help child survivors return to health and well-being.

About the Hilton Prize

The 2013 Hilton Prize was presented along with a Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Symposium at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on October 23, 2013. The Hilton Symposia began in 1998 to gather policymakers and leaders in the humanitarian field to address the most challenging issues facing the billions of people who make up the world’s most vulnerable populations.

The Hilton Prize jury currently includes: Princess Salimah Aga Khan, international ambassador for SOS Kinderdorf International; Catherine A. Bertini, professor of public administration, Syracuse University, and former executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme; Gro Harlem Brundtland, MPH, former director-general of the World Health Organization and former prime minister of Norway; James R. Galbraith, director, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, humanitarian, founder and executive chairman of Econet Wireless; Hawley Hilton McAuliffe, director, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; and Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Laureate in economics and Lamont University professor at Harvard University.

About Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world's disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton's support for the work of Catholic Sisters. Following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $83 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2012. The Foundation's current assets are in excess of $2.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org.

About ECPAT International

ECPAT International is a global network of organizations dedicated to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). ECPAT focuses on the three key manifestations of CSEC; child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. ECPAT began as a regional campaign in 1990 after researchers at a tourism consultation in Thailand first exposed the degree to which the prostitution of children was growing in parts of Asia. Today, the ECPAT network is comprised of an International Secretariat based in Thailand, together with 81 member organizations, comprised of 1,450 individual organizations, in 74 countries. For more information, please visit www.ecpat.net.

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Media resources (Prize logo and sculpture photo)