ATLANTA, Ga., July 31 – Hotels and motels are on the front lines of preventing and intercepting human sex and labor trafficking. AAHOA (Asian American Hotel Owners Association), the largest hotel owners association in the world, has been working with its 20,000 members to promote awareness and prevention strategies for trafficking.
“As the owners of 34,000 hotels around the country, AAHOA Members are playing a huge role in preventing the scourge of human trafficking,” said AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake. “With estimates of tens of thousands of individuals being trafficked here in the U.S., including under-aged minors and young children, it is absolutely the responsibility of all of us to be alert, aware, and ready to take action to report suspicious activities. AAHOA members are coordinating with law enforcement agencies and social services to ensure that hotels and motels are safe for everyone. Human trafficking has no place in our society.”
AAHOA is committed to promoting awareness of human trafficking by educating hoteliers and their employees on how to spot and report suspected instances of human trafficking. AAHOA offers BEST Inhospitable to Human Trafficking Training, which is completely digital and free for all AAHOA Members and their employees. During AAHOA’s Regional Conference & Trade Show series, members can earn certificates on site for the BEST Inhospitable to Human Trafficking Training, Sponsored by AAHOA. At this year’s AAHOACON in Los Angeles, the Association partnered with Covenant House California to help raise money and awareness for youth facing homelessness and trafficking.
During a recent town hall meeting in California, hoteliers learned about steps they can take in events of crisis such as human trafficking, violence, and shoplifting, as well as the importance of reporting crises to law enforcement while establishing a meaningful connection with local government officials. AAHOA also educated the attendees on the universal “distress” hand signal, which victims can use to convey their need for rescue and assistance in human and sex trafficking situations. AAHOA hopes to replicate this model in future Town Hall events across the country.
AAHOA is further endorsing the bipartisan National Human Trafficking Hotline Enhancement Act, which would introduce more uniformity in the reporting of suspected human and sex trafficking by mandating that entities that contract with the National Human Trafficking Hotline cooperate with state and local law enforcement when receiving tips through the Hotline.
Sponsored by Reps. Laurel Lee (R-FL) and Kathy Castor (D-FL), the act strengthens the state-federal partnership to end human trafficking.
“As hoteliers who are strongly committed to doing our part to stop human trafficking, AAHOA Members are proud to support Rep. Laurel Lee and Rep. Kathy Castor’s legislation to enhance mandatory reporting requirements,” said AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel. “Hotels and other businesses, our local law enforcement, and all Americans must come together to protect our fellow human beings from the atrocious plague of sex and labor trafficking. We must be constantly vigilant to bring an end to any form of trafficking in our hotels.”