Hotels can engage with guests to raise awareness about human trafficking.
According to the Polaris Project, 75% of human trafficking survivors report having come into contact with hotels during their trafficking experience. With the growing number of tourists, guests, and employees, hotels have a unique opportunity to play a significant role in the prevention of human trafficking. By engaging guests and raising awareness about this critical issue, hotels can contribute to the collective effort of combating human trafficking and protecting vulnerable individuals. At TraknProtect, we are committed to combating and eradicating human trafficking, by taking the OnWatch® training on awareness and prevention of human trafficking and encouraging our partners to do the same. This blog provides effective strategies that hotels can employ to engage their guests and create a meaningful impact in the fight against human trafficking. We realize hotels are in the business of welcoming guests and the suggestions below may be deemed discomforting. However, as an industry, we have made a commitment to raise awareness and prevent human trafficking as part of the AHLA 5-Star Promise. Therefore, we shouldn’t shy away from taking our commitment to the next level by not only training employees but creating ambassadors among our guests who can take this awareness to their communities and workplace. So, take a look, make the commitment to do more today, and understand the impact you can have.
1. Provide In-Room Information: Hotels can proactively educate their guests about human trafficking by placing informational brochures or cards in guest rooms. These materials can highlight the signs of trafficking, helpline numbers, and resources for reporting suspicious activities. By making this information readily available, hotels empower guests to recognize and respond to potential instances of trafficking.
2. Training and Empowering Frontline Staff: Recently, the AHLA Foundation funded human trafficking training surpassed over 1M hotel employees in the United States. This is by no way a small feat, but there are more staff that needs training. And while the focus has been on branded hotels, independent hotels, motels, and small bed & breakfasts need to be part of the movement to train employees as well. Well-informed and trained hotel staff members are essential in detecting and addressing human trafficking situations. Today, comprehensive training programs are provided at no-cost across the industry and educate staff about the signs of trafficking, appropriate actions to take, and how to engage guests in awareness efforts. Hotels can empower staff to confidently and compassionately address any concerns raised by guests or observed on the premises.
3. Collaborating with Local Organizations: Hotels can form partnerships with local anti-trafficking organizations and NGOs to leverage their expertise and resources. TraknProtect partners with organizations such as AHLA Foundation and Safe House to not only provide training but also collaborate on campaigns to increase awareness and help human trafficking survivors obtain training and educational opportunities. Hotels can also collaborate with organizations such as these to host awareness events, inviting guest speakers to share insights, and/or organizing training sessions for both staff and guests. By working together, hotels and local organizations can amplify their impact and promote a united front against human trafficking.
4. Promoting Responsible Tourism: Hotels can actively promote responsible tourism by sharing information with guests about ethical travel practices. For example, hotels can encourage guests to support businesses that have adopted anti-trafficking measures, such as fair-trade shops or establishments supporting survivor-made products.
5. Engaging through Digital Channels: Hotels can leverage their hotel's online presence, including the website, social media platforms, and email newsletters, to raise awareness about human trafficking. For example, hotels can share that they are committed to the mission of eradicating human trafficking and that their staff is trained on awareness and prevention of human trafficking, they can share informative articles, and provide links to local organizations that offer further support and information. Hotels may also want to consider partnering with influencers or content creators passionate about social justice to amplify the message further.
6. Collaborative Events and Campaigns: Hotels can organize dedicated events or campaigns within the hotel to engage guests actively. Salamander Hotels, has succeeded in creating special film festival which has grown as part of their hotel brand and has featured movies that are “rare and have the ability to inspire and educate.” Not all hotels need to have film festivals or screens. Hotels can simply host panel discussions, or workshops in partnership with local organizations, or an event of meet & greet experts to discuss how each individual can make a difference in their communities during significant awareness periods like the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons or Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Hotels have a valuable opportunity to engage guests and raise awareness about the critical issue of human trafficking. By providing information, training staff, collaborating with local organizations, promoting responsible tourism, and leveraging digital channels, hotels can make a substantial impact. Together, we can create a safer environment and contribute to the prevention and eradication of human trafficking in our communities. Let us join hands and work towards a world free from this heinous crime.
Parminder Batra, CEO, TraknProtect