Daily News

Chamber Board Votes to Endorse Pledge Against Human Trafficking

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber board of directors voted unanimously to publicly endorse the Western Massachusetts Businesses Against Human Trafficking Pledge and encourage members of the chamber to take the pledge.

Convened by MGM Springfield, the chamber joined the coalition of businesses and organizations in 2017 to support the work already being conducted by law enforcement, community organizations, and faith-based groups across the region and to lend its assistance to help eliminate the scourge of human trafficking. Since then, the chamber has formalized its support by endorsing a pledge to increase awareness of and protect against human trafficking in its places of business, and to collaborate broadly across the community and region to address the issue.

“The chamber understands the critical importance of the prevention of human trafficking in the local business community, and we are committed to communicating and collaborating with our members to increase awareness and to protect against this violation of basic human rights,” said Nancy Creed, chamber president. “As an employer, we have already taken steps internally to educate our staff on this issue and engage them in this work, and I am pleased that we now have the broad support for the coalition’s efforts on behalf of our membership.”

The pledge encourages businesses and organizations to take a leadership role in the community and to take a strong, united stand against the trafficking of human beings. It also encourages collaboration, awareness raising, and sharing of best practices. It is the first coordinated effort by the business community in Massachusetts to combat human trafficking.

“By taking this pledge, we are committing our chamber and its members to participating in the efforts to eliminate this egregious violation of basic human rights affecting our most vulnerable community members,” Creed said.

Coalition members include MGM Springfield, Peter Pan Bus Lines, the Springfield Regional Chamber, East of the River Five Town Chamber, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Springfield Redevelopment Authority (owner of Union Station), Sheraton Springfield, and Springfield/Worcester Hilton Garden Inns.

Jen Falcone, a licensed clinical social worker, is coordinating the group’s efforts. In that role, she will guide the member organization’s efforts and align them with law enforcement, service providers, community and faith groups, and government entities addressing the issue of human trafficking in the region.

For more information on how member businesses can individually take the pledge, e-mail Falcone at [email protected].