AHLA Foundation launches ‘No Room for Trafficking’ Advisory Council

Council members to support hotel industry's efforts in combating human trafficking

The American Hotel & Lodging Association Foundation launched the inaugural 'No Room for Trafficking' Advisory Council, uniting industry leaders in the fight against trafficking. The council members will empower survivors, provide resources and oversee the NRFT Survivor Fund for community-based organizations supporting trafficking survivors.

THE AMERICAN HOTEL & Lodging Association Foundation has announced the launch of its inaugural ‘No Room for Trafficking’ Advisory Council, comprising leaders in the hotel and lodging industry. The program aims to unite the industry to combat trafficking and to meet the needs of hospitality employers, employees and the communities they serve, AHLA Foundation said in a statement.

NRFT Advisory Council members support the hotel industry’s unified efforts to empower trafficking survivors, providing critical resources for their self-sufficiency, while inspiring and uniting the industry in the fight against trafficking, according to the statement. The council oversees the development and oversight of the NRFT Survivor Fund, providing essential resources to community-based organizations for engaging and supporting survivors of human trafficking, the statement added.

NRFT Advisory Council members include:

  • Co-chair: Farah Bhayani, general counsel and chief compliance officer, G6 Hospitality
  • Co-chair: Joan Bottarini, chief financial officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
  • Jay Caiafa, chief operating officer, The Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Paul Cash, general counsel and chief compliance officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • George Limbert, president, Red Roof Franchising
  • Katherine Lugar, executive vice president of corporate affairs, Hilton
  • John Murray, president and CEO, Sonesta International Hotels
  • Mitch Patel, president and CEO, Vision Hospitality Group
  • Kelly Poling, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Extended Stay America
  • Tricia Primrose, executive vice president and chief global communications and public affairs officer, Marriott International
  • Marsha Ray, senior vice president of operations, Aimbridge Hospitality
  • Ben Seidel, president and CEO, Real Hospitality Group
  • Simone Wu, senior vice president and general counsel, Choice Hotels International

“The esteemed leaders comprising our inaugural NRFT Advisory Council underscore the hotel industry’s strong commitment to combat human trafficking,” said AHLA Foundation President Anna Blue. “With their leadership, alongside AHLA and the unwavering commitment of the AHLA Foundation, we will persist in collaborating across the industry to drive vital human trafficking prevention efforts.”

Ongoing efforts

The AHLA Foundation announcement is part of the hotel industry’s ongoing effort to preventing human trafficking and promoting the economic stability of survivors, AHLA said.

Since 2020, the AHLA Foundation’s NRFT program, in partnership with ECPAT-USA, has supported free anti-trafficking training for hundreds of thousands of hotel employees, while building industry-wide awareness of this issue and its stakeholders.

In 2022, the AHLA Foundation announced expanded support for trafficking survivors through the industry’s first-ever Survivor Fund, which has raised $3.4 million since its inception. As part of its unwavering commitment to addressing this issue, the AHLA Foundation will match NRFT Survivor Fund contributions up to $5 million.

In January, AHLA and AAHOA staff wore blue to raise awareness for National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, urging hotel owners to utilize educational programs for trafficking prevention. Wyndham Hotels & Resorts also made a significant commitment, donating $500,000 to the foundation’s Survivor Fund, the largest contribution to date.

IHG Hotels & Resorts also contributed $500,000 to the AHLA Foundation‘s No Room for Trafficking Survivor Fund in February, joining other major hotel companies in combating human trafficking.

In April, Red Roof extended their partnership and presented a $10,000 check to ECPAT-USA at the AAHOA 2022 Annual Conference & Trade Show.

At the upcoming second annual NRFT Summit later this summer, the NRFT Advisory Council will unveil the inaugural grantees of the NRFT Survivor Fund.