All over the world, the hospitality and tourism industry is in a constant fight against human trafficking, but it’s often difficult to know the subtle signs. Fortunately, the Polaris Project has developed a set of recommendations that we believe can help raise awareness, and in turn equip and empower hotel owners and employees to help put a stop to human trafficking:
- Formally Adopt A Company-Wide Anti-Trafficking Policy: Adopt a policy that articulates your company’s commitment to combating all forms of human trafficking (sex and labor, adult and minor victims, US citizen and foreign national victims) at all levels of your business. The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, are good places to start. Once adopted, the policy should be clearly communicated and implemented at all levels, to ensure there is no human trafficking on-site, within your workforce, or within your company’s sourcing/procurement supply chains.–
- Train Staff On What To Look For And How To Respond: Training is essential to identify and respond to human trafficking in your business. Education should occur annually, at the point of hire, and include staff at all levels (property owners, general managers, and line staff), to identify when a suspicious situation may be human trafficking. Trainings should incorporate internal processes and protocols for how to respond to and report human trafficking.–
- Establish A Safe & Secure Reporting Mechanism: Frontline staff, franchisees and vendors/suppliers need a safe and secure method to report concerns as they arise without fear of retaliation.–
- Develop A Response Plan For Your Business: Concerns of human trafficking or severe labor exploitation need to be taken seriously, investigated in a timely fashion, and remediated as quickly as possible. Develop an internal process for responding to and reporting human trafficking when it is suspected on-site, within your workforce, or within your supply chains.–
- Directly Hire Employees Whenever Possible It is well documented that the more removed or tenuous an employment relationship is, the more vulnerable workers are to abuse, including debt bondage and forced labor –two forms of human trafficking that have been found in the hotel industry. If it’s not possible to directly hire, know your subcontractors and their recruitment practices well; don’t tolerate abusive practices.–
- Work With Suppliers And Vendors Who Responsibly Source Their Products: Human trafficking can occur within your hotel’s procurement or vendor’s supply chains. Whenever possible, strive to purchase from businesses using fair trade and responsible sourcing models, such as GoodWeave, The Fair Food Program, and Servv. Hotels can start by switching to fair trade certified coffee, or inviting these alternative businesses to attend your next trade show.–
- Contact The National Human Trafficking Resource Center: (1-888-373-7888) Hotline And BeFree (233733) Texting Helpline These national resources are available nationwide, toll-free, 24 hours a day, with teleinterpreting in over 170 languages for help or to report a situation of trafficking. Our trained call specialists are equipped to assess, provide safety planning, and refer to our network of trafficking experts across the United States for a targeted, victim-centered response.
Any other tips you’ve noticed are effective in combating human trafficking in the hotel industry? Let us know!