For a victim of trafficking, having a safe place to go can mean the difference between staying in their situation or being able to break free. In 15 years of operating the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, Polaris has responded to thousands of requests for emergency shelter to meet this need and provide this opportunity. But with rising homelessness, mental health challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic, local shelters are even more overwhelmed than they were just a few years ago.
Enter Polaris’s corporate hospitality partners — and generous individuals from across the country. When local shelters aren’t an option, partnerships like these enable us to use donated hotel points to make reservations for victims and survivors, bridging the gap in available housing. Thus far in 2022, points donations have helped house 37 people and a service dog, giving them a safe space to take the next step on their journey toward healing and freedom.
Sign up to learn more about human trafficking and how you can help.
The Current Shelter Crisis
Hotel points have been invaluable during the pandemic. For those in trafficking situations, COVID-19 made it even harder to leave, given early lockdowns and loss of shelters and safety net services. Among survivors who had already left situations of trafficking, many found themselves back in crisis, jeopardizing their hard-won emotional healing and economic growth.
Polaris quickly saw this reflected in Trafficking Hotline contacts. Early data analysis determined that crisis cases needing assistance within 24 hours surged more than 40%, and emergency shelter requests nearly doubled, mirroring what service providers across the country were seeing in their communities. Meanwhile, already-limited shelter space was stretched even thinner with COVID restrictions, with some sites closing down altogether.
Today, we may be emerging from the acute phase of the pandemic, but the safety net has not recovered. Service providers are calling Polaris directly for their clients, and the Trafficking Hotline continues to receive more calls requesting hotel stays. And the stays are growing longer: Before the pandemic, victims and survivors generally spent about two to three days in hotels before moving into longer-term programs — they are now waiting about five to seven and as many as ten days for something to open up. And even then, they may have to stay in general shelters, which are not always the most supportive for their situations.
How You Can Help
With victims and survivors needing safe shelter options more than ever before, Polaris is redoubling our efforts to find them resources — and you can help us meet their needs.
If you’re a member of Choice Privileges, IHG One Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, or Wyndham Rewards, click here to learn how you can donate your points to support victims and survivors in need of emergency shelter. Polaris can use points from these loyalty programs to book stays, and some even allow the conversion of points into monetary donations for Polaris’s work.
If you’re an employee at a hospitality company and are interested in working with Polaris, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to explore partnership opportunities.
Through your generosity, Polaris can continue to bridge gaps in safe shelter for victims and survivors through the Trafficking Hotline, as we also work to strengthen safety nets and prevent trafficking from happening in the first place.
Thank You to All Our Corporate Hospitality Partners
Stop human trafficking today
Help fix the broken systems that make trafficking possible so we can prevent it from happening in the first place.