2012 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
The St. Louis Division is pleased to honor Kimberly Ritter, an advocate for victims of sex trafficking, as a recipient of the 2012 Director’s Community Leadership Award.
Ms. Ritter became aware of child sex trafficking while working as a senior account manager for Nix Conference and Meeting Management, based in St. Louis. In 2008, Ms. Ritter was planning a conference for the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of Joseph when the group said it would only book a hotel with an anti-human trafficking policy. Ms. Ritter and her employer have since used their access to hotel general managers to raise awareness about sex trafficking and to encourage hotels to sign a code of conduct. By signing the code, hotels commit to training their staff to identify and report possible trafficking in their facilities and to annually report incidents to ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking), a human rights organization. As a result, in 2011, Millennium Hotel became the first hotel in St. Louis to sign the code.
In 2012, Nix Conference and Meeting Management initiated and signed the first meeting planners code of conduct. The company hopes to encourage the meeting planning industry nationwide to address the issue at every hotel where they do business. Ms. Ritter also became vice president of the board for the Healing Action Network. The nonprofit was founded by a survivor of sex trafficking and provides outreach to victims.