Breaking free


In today’s hospitality environment, it should be a foundational strategy to focus on human trafficking prevention across the industry. After all, traffickers often attempt to use hotels to commit the exploitation of vulnerable people. Unhindered, this can put a hotel in legal jeopardy, while creating reputational risks, business disruptions, negative financial implications, and – most importantly – ethical risks, since human trafficking is such a serious human rights issue.There’s no doubt that hoteliers don’t want their businesses to be abused by traffickers or the safety of their guests to be jeopardized. That’s why AAHOA is continuing its partnership with the nonprofit Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) to help keep members informed on how to recognize and respond to potential human trafficking situations.This partnership is helping hotel and motel owners get the most from their AAHOA Member benefits by offering a free video-based human trafficking prevention training for all lodging facility staff and managers.

BEST was founded 10 years ago and is the first nonprofit organization in the country dedicated entirely to working with businesses to disrupt human trafficking. BEST strives to help hoteliers learn how to prevent, detect, and report suspected human trafficking activity to keep children and vulnerable people safe from human trafficking, and to protect hotels from being a venue where traffickers can conduct their abuse and exploitation.The hospitality industry is vulnerable to human traffickers, especially when it comes to child commercial sexual exploitation and forced sex trafficking. BEST created the Inhospitable to Human Trafficking training, sponsored by AAHOA, specifically for the hospitality industry.The employee training takes 30-minutes, is available in English or Spanish, and can be delivered to staff as a group training or taken individually on a computer. This free, video-based training clearly shows why hotels are vulnerable to human trafficking, and examines steps to identify the critical intervention points where signs of trafficking can be spotted. Other key takeaways for staff include the difference between sex trafficking and labor trafficking, the definition of the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and how to spot the indicators of human trafficking.BEST also created a special section of the training that’s just for managers and owners to help hotel executives learn how to appropriately respond when a team member reports a suspected human trafficking situation. The manager training module includes information on how to safely report human trafficking in a way that helps protect victims, staff, and other guests.

An increasing number of states have passed laws requiring lodging facilities to display signage that brings awareness to the problem of human trafficking, which includes posting the National Human Trafficking Hotline number to report suspicious activity or connect victims with trauma-informed care and services. Similarly, several states have enacted legislation requiring lodging facilities to train employees to recognize and respond to the signs of human trafficking. BEST’s Inhospitable to Human Trafficking Training, Sponsored by AAHOA, has been certified to meet training requirements in most of the states that mandate training. At the end of the training, employees receive a certificate of completion as proof of training. This helps hotel managers track their staff’s training compliance in states that require hotels to keep documentation.During just the past year, BEST has been able to train thousands of hotel employees to be able to spot and report suspected human trafficking incidents. In a recent study, researchers from Arizona State University evaluated the training, surveying hospitality workers before and after taking the training. Before training, 22% of respondents said they had high or very high knowledge on how to recognize sex trafficking in hotels. After completing the training, reports of high or very high knowledge increased to 83% of respondents. Additionally, 97% of the employees surveyed said the training will positively impact their ability to prevent human trafficking in their hotels.

To take the free Inhospitable to Human Trafficking Training, Sponsored by AAHOA, visit the Advocacy tab on AAHOA’s website, and select Human Trafficking Prevention to take advantage of this valuable member benefit. Or, just click here. 

katie amodeiKatie Amodei is the public relations and grants manager for the Seattle-based nonprofit, Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking. Their goal is to inspire more employers to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking through awareness raising, consultation, training, and providing employment opportunities for survivors.


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