Free training available exclusively to AAHOA members and their employees.
by Peter Clerkin
Last month, AAHOA, in partnership with Polaris, a global leader in the fight against modern slavery, launched a new digital training for AAHOA members and their employees that focuses on raising awareness of human trafficking in the hospitality industry. Human Trafficking Awareness Training (HTAT) is the latest educational tool offered to AAHOA members as the nation’s hoteliers step up to combat criminals that see hotels as potential safe havens for their illicit enterprises.
“Hoteliers have a moral imperative to prevent human trafficking at their properties,” says AAHOA Chairman Hitesh (HP) Patel. “Unfortunately, the privacy and anonymity that are inherent in the hotel industry, as well as the frequent turnover of clientele, make hotels an attractive venue for criminals looking to exploit trafficking victims. This new training developed with Polaris will go a long way to help hoteliers and their employees identify the signs of sex and labor trafficking, assist victims, and work with law enforcement to keep this criminal activity out of our communities.”
On the day AAHOA launched HTAT, Patel traveled to Houston, Texas to participate in a roundtable hosted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. AAHOA partnered with the DHS Blue Campaign to provide training materials and awareness information for hoteliers, staff, and guests. The “Hospitality Tool Kit” is designed for the hotel industry exclusively and quickly became a valuable resource for AAHOA members. Representatives from the Blue Campaign as well as Polaris participated in the roundtable.
AAHOA’s partnership with Polaris allowed for the creation of HTAT, a comprehensive overview of sex and labor trafficking and provides hoteliers with the tools to identify and respond to trafficking situations. It includes red flags to look for, as well as case examples that illustrate the difficulties that can arise in spotting trafficking. Upon completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate. Some states and municipalities now mandate training to identify human trafficking, and the certification may satisfy those requirements.
“AAHOA members own nearly half of the hotels across the United States,” says AAHOA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “We’re capitalizing on that reach to promote this vital educational tool and to raise awareness of human trafficking. This important training not only focuses on sex trafficking, but also on labor trafficking, which can be difficult to spot. Being a conscientious employer means understanding how labor brokers and recruiters exploit workers and requesting supply chain transparency to ensure that no one is being forced to work against his or her will. Hoteliers are uniquely positioned to disrupt the criminal networks and individuals that exploit society’s most vulnerable through human trafficking, and they can save lives in the process,” he concludes. ■
AAHOA’s Human Trafficking Awareness Training is available on demand through the AAHOA website, www.aahoa.com/htat.
PHOTO CREDIT: NATASA ADZIC/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM