JAN. 11 IS National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and members of the U.S. hotel industry are recognizing the role they play in preventing that heinous crime. The day is the part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month aimed at generating awareness of the continuing crisis.
Human Trafficking Awareness Day was established by the Senate in 2007 to draw attention to trafficking, which includes the exploitation of people for labor, domestic servitude or commercial sexual activity by force, fraud, or coercion, according to Unitas. Hotels, as the locations in which trafficking frequently occurs, and associations such as AAHOA and the American Hotel & Lodging Association promote the training of hospitality workers to catch the signs of the crime.
“This year, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day takes on a greater urgency because of the disturbing increase in labor and sex trafficking that’s been observed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cecil Staton, AAHOA president and CEO, and Biran Patel, AAHOA chairman in a joint statement. “The pandemic’s economic fallout is providing traffickers with more opportunities to exploit the most vulnerable in our society. That’s why America’s hotel owners stand vigilant against trafficking not just today, but every day.”
Last month, AAHOA provided specific in-person and online training for Florida hotels required by a new state law to provide the training to their employees. The association has provided its free Human Trafficking Awareness Trainings since 2017, developed with anti-trafficking organizations Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking and Polaris.
“Hotel owners and their employees are in a position to make a real difference in stopping this despicable crime – but only if they know what signs to look for and how to respond,” Staton and Patel said. “Proper training can be the difference between life and death for a trafficking victim.”
G6 Hospitality, the Carrollton, Texas-based parent company of the Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands, also recognized National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by training its employees and partnering with anti-trafficking agencies.
“G6 Hospitality is deeply committed to doing our part to end human trafficking in all forms and to helping increase awareness about this global crime,” said Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality. “Through enhanced training, continuous education, and ongoing partnerships and advocacy work, we remain committed to working with our franchise partners, the hospitality industry and other businesses to continue to combat human trafficking.”
Some of the company’s initiatives and partnerships include:
- G6 has introduced internal initiatives emphasizing awareness, education, training and survivor support. The company also put in place a Rapid Response Team to respond to reports of suspected human trafficking at G6 branded hotels.
- G6 Hospitality participates in HLA’s “No Room for Trafficking” education and training campaign.
- The company signed child rights organization ECPAT-USA’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct – a joint venture of the tourism and hospitality sectors designed to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
- As part of the Texas Businesses Against Trafficking Alliance, G6 works alliance members to fight human trafficking and was the first hotel brand to become a member.
- The company partners with Truckers Against Trafficking, 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 perpetrators.
- G6 this year announced a three-year partnership with Dallas-based New Friends New Life, an organization committed to supporting survivors of human trafficking through programs such as job training, interim financial assistance, education, mental health treatment and spiritual support.