Craig Kalkut, vice president of government affairs at the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), and Fran Hughes, director of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), recommend that hoteliers build local partnerships to address human trafficking in their area. Below are three areas where hoteliers can find partners to help educate them on trafficking in their area, and what they can do to help fight this hidden crime.
1. Reach out to nonprofits.
If unsure of how to proceed in setting protocols and implementing training to minimize trafficking risks at a property, ITP’s Fran Hughes recommends picking up the phone and calling organizations like AHLA, ITP, Polaris, or ECPAT. “Organizations want you to engage. They’re not going to criticize you if you’re just on the start of a journey. They’re going to help you on that journey.”
2. Connect with local police.
Local meetings, such as through city hotel associations, can be a place where hoteliers can invite and introduce themselves to their local sheriff and prosecutor. AHLA’s Craig Kalkut says, “It makes it easier when situations arise when you have a connection with local law enforcement and you feel more comfortable reaching out to them, especially if you’re not sure if there is a real situation or not.”
3. Partner within the industry.
Learn from protocols and best practices of other hotels, particularly those headquartered in areas like the United Kingdom where businesses are required to report on their efforts to address modern slavery and human trafficking. “Have a look at the statements and see what other companies are doing,” Hughes says. “Maybe ring up your neighboring hoteliers and say, ‘These are systemic issues—we shouldn’t be fighting them alone.’”