Hospitality Increases Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking

INTERNATIONAL REPORT—As Human Trafficking Awareness Month comes to a close, industry associations and companies are increasing their efforts to combat the issue:

AHLA Leads Dialogue with Nation’s Mayors on Fighting Human Trafficking
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) led a national dialogue with hundreds of mayors around the country to advance solutions to stop human trafficking in hotels. President/CEO Chip Rogers hosted a panel of leading mayors at the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s 88th Winter Meeting to explore the coordination between the hotel industry and mayors as they partner to deploy targeted strategies and take action to combat trafficking in cities across the country.

The event builds on efforts throughout National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and AHLA’s No Room for Trafficking campaign, which aims to build on the industry’s strong record by training every hotel employee to spot the signs of trafficking and ultimately save lives. As part of this month’s awareness activities, AHLA is convening the broader travel community to help raise awareness around this critical issue.

AHLA kicked off National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Miami, in partnership with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), with a half-day summit featuring key stakeholders and a training of hotel employees ahead of Super Bowl LIV. AHLA is continuing to leverage the power of the sports industry with a regional event and employee training in Chicago with the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) to raise awareness before the NBA All-Star Game.

Hotel Industry Joins Rep. Wasserman Schultz in Florida to Combat Human Trafficking
AHLA released the following statement after participating in a human trafficking prevention roundtable hosted by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23). Chip Rogers, president/CEO of AHLA said:

“As Human Trafficking Awareness Month comes to a close, we were honored to join Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) at a roundtable to discuss ways industry and government can work together to combat human trafficking. As a private industry leading the fight to end exploitation through our pivotal No Room for Trafficking campaign, we are grateful for Representative Wasserman Schultz’s attention to this critical issue and we are proud to work together in our shared commitment to end trafficking. Earlier this month the hotel industry also joined forces with Florida lawmakers, local law enforcement and the key stakeholders including the Super Bowl Host Committee in Miami to highlight the importance of partnerships and raise public awareness ahead of Super Bowl LIV. During the event, we trained over 200 local hoteliers on prevention as part of our campaign goal of training every single hotel employee. Eradicating exploitation takes coordination across all levels, and we look forward to working with all members of Congress to end this horrific crime.”

America’s Hoteliers Meet with Rep. Schultz About Combatting Human Trafficking
AAHOA President/CEO Cecil Staton issued the following statement on the roundtable discussion with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz this past weekend regarding efforts to combat human trafficking:

“AAHOA appreciates the opportunity to join Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s roundtable and to discuss solutions to the scourge of human trafficking with other like-minded organizations. America’s hotel owners and the lodging industry have long recognized the moral imperative to proactively champion the cause of trafficking prevention. That’s why AAHOA continues to equip thousands of hotel owners and employees with the tools they need to identify and respond to potential trafficking situations with our free Human Trafficking Awareness Trainings. We are pleased to join with the DHS Blue Campaign, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), Polaris, the Georgia Human Trafficking Task Force, congressional leaders, and state and local officials as allies in this fight against those who prey upon the most vulnerable in our society.”

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Reinforces Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has reinforced its commitment to help combat human trafficking. At its first global Town Hall event of the year, Wyndham affirmed its ongoing commitment to support human trafficking awareness and prevention efforts and announced its donation of one million Wyndham Rewards points to Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate human trafficking. Wyndham also announced its commitment to achieve—by year end—10 million points donated by Wyndham and Wyndham Rewards members to Polaris since 2008.

Wyndham mandates human trafficking training for all company employees globally. Polaris acts as a catalyst to systemically disrupt human trafficking by helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Polaris uses Wyndham Rewards points in part for short-term stays for victims, so they have a safe place to sleep while waiting for a spot in a shelter to open.

Motel 6 Expands Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Through Partnerships
Motel 6 has partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking and New Friends New Life as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking. Truckers Against Trafficking is a national not-for-profit organization that trains members of the trucking, bus and energy industries to assist law enforcement in the recognition and reporting of human trafficking, in order to aid in the recovery of victims and the arrest of their perpetrators. The organization created the Freedom Drivers Project, a mobile exhibit educating audiences about the realities of domestic sex trafficking.

Motel 6 will also begin a three-year partnership with Dallas-based New Friends New Life to support survivors of human trafficking through programs such as job training, interim financial assistance, education, mental health treatment and spiritual support. The company’s commitment includes financial support and in-kind donations, fundraising initiatives and educational trainings and workshops.

In addition to working closely with local law enforcement and not-for-profits with expertise on the issue, Motel 6 has introduced a range of internal initiatives emphasizing awareness, education, training and survivor support. Additionally, the company has put in place a Rapid Response Team to respond to instances of trafficking activity to assure adherence to company policy.