ABA: Good Citizen

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ABA: Good Citizen

As part of our social responsibility, ABA has embarked on several initiatives to help us become better citizens. We have created some initiatives that we hope will inspire our members and their customers to do the same. Each step has been created in the hopes that it will have a ripple effect on our communities and around the world to help ABA become a Good Citizen. 


Human Trafficking

There are so many ways that we can work together for a better world for all. And, while many of ABA’s efforts are behind the scenes for our membership, there’s one priority that we can all help with as we travel.

Sex traffickers regularly post photos of victims posed in hotel rooms in their online advertisements. In fact, 75% of underage sex trafficking victims said they had been advertised or sold online. (Thorn, 2015) Investigators can use these ads as evidence to find victims and prosecute perpetrators if they can determine where the photos were taken. This is where TraffickCam comes in.

TraffickCam allows anyone with a smartphone to fight sex trafficking when they travel by uploading photos of hotel rooms to a law enforcement database. Photos uploaded to the free TraffickCam app are added to an enormous database of hotel room images. Federal, state and local law enforcement securely submit photos of hotel rooms used in the advertisement of sex trafficking victims to TraffickCam.

Features such as patterns in the carpeting, furniture, room accessories and window views are matched against the database of traveler images to provide law enforcement with a list of potential hotels where the photo may have been taken.

  • TraffickCam is 85% accurate in identifying the correct hotel in the top 20 matches, according to early testing.

  • More than 2.9 million photos of more than 250,000 hotels in every major metropolitan area of the U.S have been uploaded.

  • More than 152,000 TraffickCam apps have been downloaded.

  • Images that include people are rejected from the database.

  • No personally identifying information is stored, other than the phone’s GPS location.

  • The Washington University in St. Louis developers of TraffickCam, Dr. Robert Pless and research associate Abby Stylianou, research new ways to use images collected by smartphones and webcams.

  • News of TraffickCam has generated more than 35 million Twitter impressions and has been shared countless times on Facebook.

  • Hundreds of television stations and newspapers across the United States and around the world have reported about TraffickCam, including The Huffington Post, Washington Post, Fast Company, PBS Nova, AOL, and more.

Photos can be uploaded at www.TraffickCam.org or you can download the app from your mobile app store. 



Sustainability is the balance between the environment, equity, and economy. ABA has made a substantial change this year in working towards sustainability. We have eliminated meat from meals at all of our events. While those needing animal proteins are able to make requests based on dietary restrictions, everyone else will be enjoying vegetarian meals. 

Reducing meat consumption has many benefits; it is the single most significant action you can take to help our environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and soil degradation. Reduction of meat consumption will also save an enormous amount of land and water and increase biodiversity.

Giving up meat and dairy is one of the best ways to help fight climate change. Raising animals for food uses up too much land and water, and it raises greenhouse gasses. To make matters worse, some of the land that’s cut down for animal agriculture is the same land that absorbs carbon dioxide. For these reasons we will continue to offer vegetarian meals. 



From the pollution produced by landfills to the devastating effects of plastic in our oceans, we urgently need to stem the flow of rubbish pouring into our environment. Here’s a reminder of why ABA has integrated recycling into our daily operations and why we try to ensure maximum recycling and minimal waste at our events. 

Here are seven reasons why!

1. Conserving natural resources

The world’s natural resources are finite, and some are in very short supply.

2. Protecting ecosystems and wildlife

Recycling reduces the need to grow, harvest or extract new raw materials from the Earth.

3. Reducing demand for raw materials

The world’s increasing demand for new stuff has led to more of the poorest and most vulnerable people (for example, those living around forests or river systems) being displaced from their homes, or otherwise exploited. Forest communities can find themselves evicted as a result of the search for cheap timber and rivers can be dammed or polluted by manufacturing waste.

It’s far better to recycle existing products than to damage someone else’s community or land in the search for new raw materials.

4. Saving energy 

Making products from recycled materials requires less energy than making them from new raw materials. Sometimes it’s a huge difference in energy. For example:

  • Producing new aluminum from old products (including recycled cans and foil) uses 95% less energy than making it from scratch. For steel, it’s about a 70% energy saving.

  • Making paper from pulped recycled paper uses 40% less energy than making it from virgin wood fibers. 

  • The amount of energy saved from recycling one glass bottle could power an old 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours and a new low-energy LED equivalent for a lot longer.

5. Cutting climate-changing carbon emissions

Because recycling means you need to use less energy on sourcing and processing new raw materials, it produces lower carbon emissions. It also keeps potentially methane-releasing waste out of landfill sites. 

6. Cheaper than waste collection and disposal

The more you recycle, and the less you put in the bin, the more money is saved, which should be good for households, businesses and local public services.

Recycling food waste and green waste is a great idea too, often generating lots of valuable compost that can be used to grow more food and other crops.

7. Tackles youth unemployment 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused devastation in all areas of our lives, including employment. There are over 500,000 young people aged 16–24 out of work, and numbers are expected to grow substantially. 

Right now, young people are being taught and given careers advice on jobs that may not even exist in 10 years’ time. We’re setting them up to fail where we could be training them to succeed.

If in doubt, remember those three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The truth is we all need to get into the habit of using less stuff in the first place. And the things we do use ought to be reused as much as possible before being recycled, to minimize waste.


About ABA

The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.


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