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Human traffickers find the hospitality industry a suitable avenue for exploiting

their victims, with most actions of domestic sex trafficking, a significant form of
human trafficking, occurring in hotels. Traffickers often benefit from the
anonymity and privacy offered by the hospitality industry. The prospect of paying
rooms in cash, or shifting from rooms or hotels at night makes it difficult to
detect traffickers. Stakeholders in the hospitality industry want to protect their
services as well as their clients from such kind of abuse by traffickers.
Hospitality institutions, including hotels and motels, can mitigate the risk of
human trafficking through staff training and education, developing or including
policy and governance procedures, and joining global and local networks to increase
awareness.
Human traffickers take advantage and capitalize on the shallow knowledge of hotel
staff regarding human trafficking. They know that hotel officials do not have an
idea of what questions to ask or what to look for when negotiating contracts with
vendors. They even assume that hotel staffs do not have a sense of whether human
trafficking can occur in hotels. Training hotel employees on how to identify the
signs of human trafficking is, therefore, a proactive approach that can help
victims get help and deter potential traffickers. Training creates internal
awareness among hotel employees at different levels. Creating awareness could be
through displaying blue campaign hospitality posters on the staff spaces in hotels
and motels. Training and awareness among employees offer reinforcement about the
organization’s zero tolerance deportment towards human trafficking. Employees will
also get the required training, to be aware and even recognize victims and
perpetrators of human trafficking. Creating awareness through the identification of
training needs among workers should be a significant component of hotels’
strategies. The nature or type of training should be based on the department of
employees, as different staff requires different information regarding human
trafficking. For example, senior managers, human resources, housekeeping, and
security staff deal with different information. Employees should be trained on
various types of human trafficking, including but not limited to forced labor and
sexual exploitation. Creating awareness and training is essential because employees
get to understand how to handle different cases of suspected trafficking. Reporting
is also reflected in training, as employees get to understand the best channel or
procedure of reporting cases of suspected trafficking. To supplement the training,
hotels need to introduce an incentives program for reporting suspected trafficking
cases. The hotel management should collaborate with law enforcement agencies to
reward employees who report suspected human trafficking.
Hotels need to develop or include procedures of policy and governance related to
human rights and trafficking within their scope of operation. Hotels should include
a policy on human rights as an integral component of corporate social
responsibility. This will ensure that hospitality organizations have a
responsibility in reporting and managing human trafficking risks, as an essential
part of their corporate social structure and governance. Hotels should align their
activities and operations to the social responsibility of preventing trafficking
and protecting human rights. The overall corporate policy, including human rights,
supplier and hiring codes of conduct, should be zero-tolerant to human trafficking
or any other form of human rights violation. The best strategy is to include the
official definition and guiding principles of human trafficking in the policy
statement. Managers should recognize that human trafficking is not just limited to
sexual or child exploitation, hence they should ensure that codes and policies that
govern relationships with goods and services suppliers are as well defined in the
same human trafficking stance. As part of corporate social responsibility,
hospitality organizations should show total compliance with the laws and
regulations regarding the prevention and detection of human trafficking. For
instance, there are codes of conduct for children protection from sexual
exploitation in travel and tourism, which hotels and motels need to comply. Hotel
managers need to remain updated on local laws and regulations regarding the
protection of customers from acts of human rights violation and trafficking. Hotels
need to develop business statements that reinforce their commitment to human rights
and reduce the risks of human trafficking. The mission statement should be aligned
to all business practices, thus ensuring that any service offered protects
individuals from human trafficking or any other form of violation. Hotel management
should establish codes of conduct that help to shape organizational activities that
demonstrate a public commitment towards combating human trafficking. However,
addressing human trafficking is more than just developing a statement or enacting a
code; hence organizations should have a viable program for engaging staff to
participate in mitigating human trafficking adequately.
There are global and local organizations that share information and knowledge on
the best practices for addressing human trafficking in the hospitalization
industry. These bodies form an active network for sharing such information, as they
work jointly towards eliminating trafficking in the sector. Hotels and motels need
to register their organizations with such bodies, to access essential information
regarding the training of employees, regulatory compliance, and reporting of
suspected cases of trafficking. These global and local networks include the Global
Business Coalition against Human Trafficking, blue campaign, and the Institute of
Hotel Security. GBCAT (Global Business Coalition against Human Trafficking) is a
business-oriented initiative that aims to eradicate human trafficking from business
operations across the globe. The organization seeks to harness authority from all
business sectors to reduce and prevent human trafficking through partnerships,
guidance, and shared resources. The blue campaign is an awareness campaign
organization based in the United States, that is developed to inform the public,
law enforcement agencies or other partnering organizations on the signs of human
trafficking, as well as how to respond to such cases. Hotels should collaborate
with the Blue Campaign to benefit from services such as training of employees on
detection and reporting of trafficking cases. The Institute of Hotel Security
works in partnership with security personnel directly employed in the hospitability
sector. The organization also works closely with law enforcement agencies to reduce
insecurity and business-related crimes. Hotels should establish networks with these
institutions to remain updated on emerging issues related to trafficking and human
rights. Networking with such organizations is useful in tracking progress, as well
as establishing brand and profile by publicly demonstrating commitment towards
addressing human trafficking in the hospitality industry. These global and local
bodies can also help hotel managers to identify the risky areas, situations, or
times, during which there are high possibilities of human trafficking occurring.
These include the occurrence of events such as sports tournaments, the presence of
migrant employees within the workforce, or business activities in an area where
human trafficking is on the increase. Managers should signal hotel staffs to be
alert, especially during such periods, events, or situations.
The hospitality industry stakeholders cannot ignore what is happening within their
business operations. However, some hotels have undertaken essential initiatives in
their attempts to deal with human trafficking. All business organizations within
the hospitality industry need to follow the footsteps of their successful
counterparts in eliminating human trafficking that occurs within their business
operations. Generally, organizations should train and educate staff on how to
identify as well as report cases of human trafficking. They should also develop or
include policy governance procedures for human rights protection, as well as form
networks with a local and global organization that seek to eliminate human
trafficking and other crimes within business operations.