WASHINGTON—The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has launched a new national campaign to unite the industry around a single, comprehensive approach to fight human trafficking. The “No Room for Trafficking” campaign builds on the hotel industry’s commitment to combat human trafficking. Already each year, thousands of hotel employees are trained. With this campaign, AHLA builds on the industry’s record by convening the entire industry with the goal of training every hotel worker.
“No Room for Trafficking sends a loud and clear message: We will not tolerate human trafficking in the hotel industry,” said Chip Rogers, president/CEO of AHLA. “Thanks to our dedicated associates, our industry already has a strong record of combatting trafficking and supporting survivors. There is still much more to do, and our commitment to training and education will continue to make a difference.”
The hotel industry has long recognized the critical role it plays in ending the scourge of human trafficking, and through innovative techniques and employee training has played an instrumental role in identifying, reporting and stopping instances of human trafficking.
In the April 7th edition of Hotel Business, Senior Editor Gregg Wallis wrote about the impact of human trafficking and the many steps hoteliers are taking to combat it.
AHLA kicked-off the campaign at a strategic roundtable today bringing together industry leaders, government partners, law enforcement and national trafficking prevention partners to underscore the industry’s efforts around human trafficking.
Since trafficking networks often rely on legitimate businesses—many in the tourism supply chain—to sustain their illicit and illegal operations, hoteliers are uniquely positioned to identify and disrupt this terrible practice. Hoteliers can play an important role in combatting trafficking through raising awareness, improved coordination with law enforcement, and ongoing workforce training.
The No Room for Trafficking campaign outlines four core pillars to bring the hotel industry together and build upon current efforts:
- Elevate issue awareness through increased education, resources and training for all hotel employees;
- Assess protocols, procedures, and technologies to confirm training effectiveness and employee vigilance;
- Educate by developing strategic intervention and disruption strategies to identify and report suspected trafficking situations; and
- Support by furthering partnerships with leading national human trafficking and law enforcement organizations to establish industry standards and support survivors.
As part of the campaign, AHLA is providing new resources and materials for members, including the following:
- Action Plan for hoteliers to implement that includes training staff on what to look for and how to respond; displaying human trafficking indicator signage; establishing a companywide policy; ongoing coordination with law enforcement; and sharing success stories and best practices.
- Companywide anti-trafficking policy template for members who may not already have a policy in place that incorporates key elements and recommendations from AHLA partners End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT-USA) and Polaris.
- Strategic partnerships with leading national prevention partners including ECPAT-USA, Polaris, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), SafeHouse Project, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and many others.
- Member Resource Guide that provides information on ways to implement the AHLA action plan, including where to access employee training and partner resources, downloadable signage, strategies to connect with law enforcement, ways to report instances of trafficking and how hotels can support survivors.
In addition, AHLA in partnership with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), will host a series of regional events throughout the year leading up to Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January, to raise public awareness and facilitate collaboration with policymakers, law enforcement and hoteliers on best practices for policies, procedures and training to enhance our human trafficking prevention efforts.
On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, AHLA will launch a Member Day of Action, providing a social media platform for hoteliers across the country to showcase their participation in the No Room for Trafficking campaign by hosting employee training seminars, pledging to complete the AHLA Action Plan, and collaborating with national prevention partners to and helping to raise awareness.
“The hospitality industry is playing a critical role in helping to disrupt human trafficking through prioritization of innovative training techniques and increased resources for employees,” said Bradley Myles, CEO of Polaris. “Polaris is proud to work alongside AHLA and the industry as a partner in the No Room for Trafficking campaign, building upon the industry’s work to ensure employees remain vigilant and have a deep understanding of the most up-to-date indicators to spot human trafficking.”
“As the leading organization partnering with legislators and the corporate community to end exploitation, we are proud to partner with AHLA on the launch of their No Room for Trafficking campaign and commend their continued leadership on this issue,” said Michelle Guelbart, director of private sector engagement, ECPAT-USA. “It’s crucial that the hospitality industry comes together to end human trafficking. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with AHLA to protect children from exploitation.”
By partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, AHLA is working to bring together law enforcement and government officials to expand currently established relationships and enhance partnerships.