Industry fight against human trafficking continues

In advance of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Day on July 30, the hotel industry is continuing its work to end human trafficking through events, certifications and other methods.

AHLA Foundation to host No Room for Trafficking awareness event
In honor of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) President/CEO Chip Rogers will host the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation’s (AHLA Foundation) virtual No Room for Trafficking awareness and training event on July 30, from 11 a.m. to noon ET. No Room for Trafficking is an AHLA and AHLA Foundation awareness program that builds on the industry’s ongoing commitment and work to end human trafficking.

Marriott launches enhanced human trafficking awareness training
In commemoration of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons Day, Marriott International will launch an updated version of its human trafficking awareness training—the next step in its goal to train all of its on-property associates to recognize and respond to potential indicators of human trafficking at hotels by 2025.

The world has changed significantly in the five years since the company launched the initial training. COVID-19 has ushered in more contactless and mobile hotel experiences, which can make it more difficult to spot potential indicators of trafficking. The new training builds upon the original training’s foundation by featuring scenario-based modules, a mobile-friendly design and increased guidance on how to respond to potential situations of human trafficking—critical enhancements based on hotel-level feedback to help associates turn awareness into action and continue the fight against the multinational crime. Additionally, the new training was developed in collaboration with survivors of human trafficking, ensuring the training is victim-centered and the resources are survivor-informed.

“As an industry that cares deeply about human rights and the horrible crime of human trafficking, we have a real responsibility to address this issue in a meaningful way,” said Anthony Capuano, CEO, Marriott International. “The updated training empowers a global workforce that stands ready to recognize and respond to human trafficking and allows our company to live up to our core values.”

Through a collaboration with ECPAT-USA and with input from Polaris, two leading non-profits that specialize in combatting human trafficking, Marriott launched its original human trafficking awareness training in 2016 and made it mandatory for all on-property staff in both managed and franchised properties globally in January 2017. So far, the training has been delivered to more than 850,000 associates, which has helped identify instances of human trafficking, protect associates and guests, and support victims and survivors.

As the company did with its original training, Marriott plans to donate this training and work with ECPAT-USA and the American Hotel and Lodging Association Foundation to make it widely available in early 2022 to help educate the entire hospitality industry.

“Marriott International has been a crucial ally in ECPAT-USA’s child protection work for years, including developing critical training that gives hotel associates the tools and resources to be able to identify and respond to human trafficking,” said Lori L. Cohen, CEO, ECPAT-USA. “Half a million hotel associates [from other companies]have already completed the existing e-learning program since we made it available in 2020, and the new information and innovative features of this updated training will facilitate an even greater impact. Awareness of and training on these issues are essential for members of the hotel and hospitality industry, and we are so grateful to leaders in the private sector like Marriott for their long-term collaboration on this issue.”

Chip Rogers, president/CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association, added, “Training plays a critical role in prevention efforts, and we are extremely grateful for Marriott’s generosity to provide these innovative human trafficking awareness trainings for free to the industry in collaboration with ECPAT-USA and Polaris with the support of the AHLA Foundation. We have already been able to train half a million hotel workers since the original training was launched for free in 2020, and these new trainings will continue to help us get closer to our goal of training every hotel employee.”

For its updated training, Marriott collaborated with Polaris, which operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the U.S., to develop storyboards, select scenarios based on calls to the hotline and prioritize the wellbeing of potential victims. Marriott also worked with survivor consultants and ECPAT-USA’s Survivors’ Council to incorporate meaningful input from survivors throughout the training development.

“Polaris is proud to join with Marriott International and a team of survivors to create this crucial resource,” said Catherine Chen, CEO, Polaris. “This training goes beyond general awareness of signs to equip hotel workers with the tools to respond to trafficking situations in ways that are appropriate, nuanced, helpful, and most importantly, survivor-centered. By designing interactive scenario-based exercises and updating guidance for managerial staff around how to interact with potential victims and survivors of human trafficking, our hope is that this training enables hotel workers to become a valuable resource for trafficking victims around the world,”

TraknProtect completes OnWatch Advocate Program
TraknProtect is now a certified OnWatch Advocate after training 100% of its company employees on how to recognize and report sex trafficking through the survivor-led and informed OnWatch education platform.

Introduced nationally last year by Safe House Project and the Malouf Foundation, OnWatch is a virtual, anti-trafficking training service available for free at IAmOnWatch.org. Through true survivor experiences, industry experts explain the key indicators of trafficking, as well as how users can support a survivor’s path to freedom.

“The heartbeat of TraknProtect is to keep people safe,” said Parminder Batra, CEO/founder, TraknProtect. “Every day our team is working alongside the hospitality industry, a critical sector for preventing sex trafficking, to keep people safe while traveling. When we learned about Safe House Project’s work with the hospitality industry to eradicate sex trafficking, it was a natural fit. We want our people to be part of the solution to end trafficking not only in the hospitality sector, but across America. We are proud to say that TraknProtect is OnWatch to spot, report, and prevent trafficking.

OnWatch Executive Director Brittany Dunn said, “Over the years we have been proud to partner with TraknProtect, and now we’re excited to officially recognize TraknProtect as a certified OnWatch Advocate.”

Kristi Wells, CEO, Safe House Project added, “The hospitality industry has a critical role to play in helping disrupt trafficking on their property, keep patrons safe, and report suspected trafficking. When everyone is OnWatch where they live, work and play, it helps us increase victim identification above 1%, but more importantly education is key to helping prevent trafficking.”

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