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Unified Effort

AHLA Launches National Campaign To Fight Human Trafficking In Hotels

Friday, June 28, 2019
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With the lofty goal of training every hotel employee on the perils of human trafficking, the AHLA (American Hotel & Lodging Association) earlier this week launched a national campaign designed to unite the industry to combat the widespread issue.

The No Room for Trafficking campaign is designed to build on the hotel industry’s ongoing legacy and commitment to combat human trafficking, which had included the training of thousands of employees each year. The AHLA launched the campaign at a strategic roundtable bringing together industry leaders, government partners, law enforcement and national trafficking prevention partners.

Because trafficking networks often rely on legitimate businesses—many in the tourism supply chain—to sustain their illicit and illegal operations, hoteliers are uniquely positioned to identify and disrupt this practice, according to AHLA. Hoteliers can play an important role in combating trafficking through raising awareness, improved coordination with law enforcement, and ongoing workforce training.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA, made the following statement on the recent initiative. “No Room for Trafficking sends a loud and clear message: we will not tolerate human trafficking in the hotel industry. Thanks to our dedicated associates, our industry already has a strong record of combating trafficking and supporting survivors. There is still much more to do, and our commitment to training and education will continue to make a difference,” he said.

The campaign outlines four core pillars:
• Elevate issue awareness through increased education, resources and training for all hotel employees;
• Assess protocols, procedures, and technologies to confirm training effectiveness and employee vigilance;
• Educate by developing strategic intervention and disruption strategies to identify and report suspected trafficking situations; and
• Support by furthering partnerships with leading national human trafficking and law enforcement organizations to establish industry standards and support survivors.

In addition, Rogers, who was previously president of AAHOA, noted the association is partnering with AHLA to host a series of regional events throughout the year leading up to Human Trafficking Prevention Month in January. The goal of the events is to raise public awareness and facilitate collaboration with policymakers, law enforcement and hoteliers on best practices for policies, procedures and training to enhance human trafficking prevention efforts.

As part of the campaign, AHLA is providing new resources and materials for members, including the following:
• Action Plan for hoteliers to implement that includes training staff on what to look for and how to respond; displaying human trafficking indicator signage; establishing a companywide policy; ongoing coordination with law enforcement; and sharing success stories and best practices.
• Companywide anti-trafficking policy template for members who may not already have a policy in place that incorporates key elements and recommendations from AHLA partners End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT-USA) and Polaris.

• Strategic partnerships with leading national prevention partners including ECPAT-USA, Polaris, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), SafeHouse Project, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and many others.

• Member Resource Guide that provides information on ways to implement the AHLA action plan, including where to access employee training and partner resources, downloadable signage, strategies to connect with law enforcement, ways to report instances of trafficking and how hotels can support survivors.

On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, 2019, AHLA will launch a Member Day of Action, providing a social media platform for hoteliers across the country to showcase their participation in the No Room for Trafficking campaign by hosting employee training seminars, pledging to complete the AHLA Action Plan, and collaborating with national prevention partners to and helping to raise awareness.

By partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, AHLA is working to bring together law enforcement and government officials to expand currently established relationships and enhance partnerships.

AHLA continues to broaden educational resources and partnerships to address employee and guest safety with wide-ranging national organizations that target sexual violence, sexual assault, trafficking and promote workplace safety, including ECPAT-USA, Polaris, BEST, National Sexual Violence Resource Center, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, DC Rape Crisis Center, National Domestic Violence Hotline, Peace Over Violence, RALIANCE, RAINN, Safe House Project, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
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