In 2011, we celebrated 10 years of producing Missouri Meetings & events magazine and expo. Looking back over those years, i realized how much our industry has grown in construction of new hotels and makeovers of older venues. Even new registration software and mobile Web technologies were just getting warmed up back then.
However, as we begin our 11th year, the stark reality of a very serious issue looms over all of
us in the meeting and event industry. It’s a horrific topic that was hidden from our pages for
10 years, but with the help of a St. Louis event planning company, our eyes and ears were
opened. Adult and child sex trafficking is thriving today as never before. Because traffickers
often use hotels and other lodging facilities as thoroughfares for their business, it’s important
for meeting planners and suppliers to be aware of this issue. Unless our industry becomes
part of the solution, the problem will continue to grow.
Our hope is that after reading Julie Johnson’s page 22 story, “Meeting Planners Step Up to
Stem the Tide of Human Trafficking,” you will review your own company’s policies on meeting
venue ethics. Sitting back hoping this problem will be taken care of by law enforcement and
others is not an option. It will take all of us to make a difference. We hope that with the hotel
and event industries staying informed and vigilant, 2012 will be the year U.S. sex trafficking
begins a steady decline.
On May 21 and 22, 2012, the 11th annual Missouri Meetings & Events St. Louis regional
expo will take place at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center in Chesterfield. In
addition to networking face-to-face with key suppliers and vendors, attendees also will hear
from regional organizations offering ways planners can join the fight against sex trafficking. See pages 24-30.
Our expo theme this year is “PLANit Tech-Know.” We’ll provide you with workshops and live
demos of devices, applications and technologies that will make your job easier. For example,
ask an expert about your Android or iPhone mobile device, and find out how it can streamline
your workday. Sign up for one-on-one sessions with key suppliers during the Meet Business
exchange on Monday evening. Then attend the unveiling of a new mobile application with the
potential to revolutionize the medical meeting profession.
Lastly, I’d like to introduce you to a new column titled “Case by Case,” written by attorney
Thomas Ishmael (page 20). In each issue, he will get you thinking about where legal concerns
surface in the daily work of event planning. As he points out in this issue, they often hide in
Enjoy the issue!
Joseph W. Clote