AAHOA offering in-person training on human trafficking in Florida

The sessions are meant to comply with the state’s new requirements for hospitality employees

AAHOA’s Human Trafficking Awareness Training Florida Compliance Series will be held in 10 Florida cities to help hoteliers comply with the state’s new law requiring the training by Jan. 1.

AAHOA IS NOW holding in-person training on human trafficking awareness for Florida hotels required by a new state law to provide the training to their employees. The free training will be held at 10 locations in conjunction with Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking.

The new series, Human Trafficking Awareness Training Florida Compliance Series, is designed to meet the requirements of Florida statute Section 509.096. Under the new law, hotels in the state have until Jan. 1 to provide training approved by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to employees who work at the front desk, reception areas or housekeeping, or face up to $2,000 in fines.

AAHOA and BEST previously announced they would offer a free 30-minute, online, video-based training to meet the new regulations. Under the new in-person program, training will be conducted between December 14 and 18 in Cocoa, Ft. Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa, Ocala, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona and Orlando.

“The hospitality industry is positioned to make a real impact in the fight against human trafficking,” said Cecil Staton, AAHOA’s president and CEO. “That’s why AAHOA is proud to partner with industry leaders such as BEST to empower America’s hoteliers and hospitality professionals with the knowledge to identify and respond to potential instances of trafficking at their hotels.”

The training events will be offered under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines. Participants are required to wear masks and observe social distancing.

“As hotel owners, we have a moral imperative to ensure the safety of our guests and our employees. Understanding human trafficking is key to stopping it and potentially saving lives,” said Biran Patel, AAHOA’s chairman. “I am proud that AAHOA is leading the way to help its members educate themselves and their employees in the fight against this terrible crime.”

Florida’s new regulations require each employee to submit a signed and dated acknowledgment of having received training, which the hotel owner or operator must be able to provide to the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation upon request. Participants in the AAHOA program can print a signed and dated certificate showing they have completed the course.

Eight states, including California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, Iowa, North Dakota and Illinois also have passed laws requiring human trafficking awareness training for lodging establishments.