IHG to combat human trafficking with new partners

IHG Hotels & Resorts has partnered with two leading anti-human trafficking organizations, ECPAT-USA and Polaris, to strengthen the company’s ongoing efforts against trafficking and to support survivors.

The launch of these engagements coincides with the United Nations’ July 30 observance of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, designed to call attention to the millions of individuals who are trafficked each year.

Through the support of the ECPAT-USA and Polaris’ programs, IHG will amplify awareness of the prevalence and dangers of human trafficking through education and advocacy. Senior advisors from both organizations will also join IHG’s anti-human trafficking steering committee and provide subject matter expertise for the company’s initiatives to deter criminal behavior through identification and reporting. In addition, IHG will continue supporting ECPAT-USA and Polaris through the donation of IHG One Rewards loyalty points, which will help the organizations provide refuge for human trafficking survivors escaping dangerous situations.

“IHG’s partnerships with ECPAT-USA and Polaris are a next step in our relationship with these leading organizations,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts. “This effort, in addition to our ongoing industry-wide collaborations, underscores our deep commitment to making progress against trafficking’s horrible crimes. Working together more closely will help us focus on the most impactful initiatives, as well as help us support and learn from trafficking survivors to strengthen prevention measures.”

As an extension of its engagement with Polaris, IHG will serve as the only hospitality sponsor for its partner’s National Survivor Study. A core component of Polaris’ evidence-based efforts to fight human trafficking, the Study will include feedback from surveys, interviews and focus groups with anti-trafficking leaders and survivors across North America. Polaris anticipates concluding this research in December.

Jen Jinks, chief strategy and impact officer, Polaris, said, “The National Survivor Study (NSS) is a scientifically rigorous, qualitative and quantitative study cocreated and co-delivered with victims and survivors. The first of its kind, the NSS will lift up new and different insights from the experts themselves—victims and survivors. Polaris is thrilled to partner with IHG and our other funders on this innovative and survivor-centered work.”

Yvonne Chen, director, private sector engagement, ECPAT-USA, said, “ECPAT-USA is incredibly grateful for the leadership role IHG has taken in combatting human trafficking across the hospitality industry and for this new partnership to raise awareness of these issues and support our programs. We look forward to continuing to work together in the creation of meaningful and impactful steps to protect all children from exploitation.”

IHG also continues to work closely with a variety of organizations to coordinate efforts and share anti-human trafficking best practices. In addition to its partnerships with ECPAT-USA and Polaris, IHG is a partner of international nonprofit organization It’s a Penalty, which works to stop trafficking around sporting events, and Atlanta nonprofit organization Wellspring Living in the U.S., which focuses on transforming the lives of those at risk for or victimized by sexual exploitation.

Working together with industry trade groups such as the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and its foundation to support its No Room for Trafficking program, as well as offering free anti-human trafficking training for all IHG hotels and colleagues, are additional ways the company is working to effectively fight these exploitations that plague communities across the globe.