January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and hotels around the country are taking steps to raise awareness of the crime and provide employees with the tools and training to recognize and prevent it.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world, in part because of its hidden nature. Hotels across all sectors and markets are at risk for becoming locations used by traffickers to exploit victims. To improve the fight against human trafficking, hoteliers can look to industry organizations, nonprofits combating trafficking, and law enforcement as potential partners in preventing and disrupting these crimes.
For several years, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) has partnered with Marriot International, the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI), ECPAT-USA, and the Polaris Project to combat human trafficking by developing an online training program to help hotel employees identify and respond to human trafficking at hotel properties. The training provides an overview of the issues of human trafficking, suggested protocols for responding to suspicious activity, and signs of trafficking that are specific to different hospitality positions like in-room staff, restaurant staff, front-desk and lobby employees, and security personnel.
In addition to training, hotels can take the following steps right now to raise awareness of human trafficking at their properties.
Five Resources for Combating Human Trafficking
- Consider displaying awareness posters in office areas and those that may be at risk for trafficking.
- Hand out informational cards with human trafficking indicators to employees.
- Take advantage of U.S. Department of Homeland Security anti-human trafficking materials on the Blue Campaign website.
- Learn more about employer’s responsibilities when it comes to human trafficking from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Be a conscientious consumer when making purchases for a hotel by refering to the U.S. Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.