Hotels & Motels Recommendations

The following is an overview of the recommendations for the hospitality industry discussed in the new report from Polaris, On-Ramps, Intersections, and Exit Routes: A Roadmap for Systems and Industries to Prevent and Disrupt Human Trafficking. This topic was included in the hotels and motels chapter of the report.

  1. Adopt a Company-Wide Anti-Trafficking Policy

    • Such a policy should articulate the company’s commitment to combating all forms of human trafficking (sex and labor, adult and minor victims, US citizen and foreign national victims) at all levels of the business, including contractors.

    • Parent companies and hospitality associations should require all franchisees and member companies to adopt such policies.

  2. Hotel Points Donations and Local Shelter Support

    • When local emergency shelters are full or not available, hotels can be the last option to provide a survivor with a safe place to stay immediately after leaving their trafficking situation. Survivor leaders also need lodging support when traveling for consulting opportunities and speaking engagements.

    • Companies should consider donating hotel points as well as allowing their customers to donate their points to support anti-trafficking organizations.

    • Hotels can also consider establishing MOU’s, complete with proper safety and confidentiality protocols, with local anti-trafficking shelters in order to best support them when all the beds are full.

  3. Train Staff

    • 75% of survivors responding to Polaris’s survey reported coming into contact with hotels at some point during their exploitation.

      • Unfortunately, 94% also disclosed that they never received any assistance, concern, or identification from hotel staff.

    • Strong education protocols are developed in collaboration with survivors, include annual trainings, at the point of hire, and include staff at all levels (property owners, general managers, line staff, and subcontractors).

    • Parent companies and hospitality associations should require all franchisees and member companies to adopt such protocols.

  4. Establish a Response Plan

    • Reporting suspicions to the National Hotline is a safe and secure step that hotels could consider incorporating into their reporting mechanisms, since the Hotline can triage
      situations and report to law enforcement where appropriate.

    • Hotels are also encouraged to establish working relationships with local service providers and human trafficking task forces, since they can do periodic outreach on site, respond with crisis advocacy if a victim reaches out for immediate help, or accompany law enforcement partners in the event of an acute incident.

  5. Hotel and Travel Booking Sites: Use Data for Identification Efforts

    • The sites could use data analysis tools to cross-check suspicious customer identities and check them against known commercial sex websites or other sources of data indicating illicit activity.

  6. Directly Hire Employees

    • Since January 2015, the National Hotline has identified 482 potential victims of labor trafficking working in the supply chain of a hotel, mostly in housekeeping subcontractors.

    • The more removed or tenuous an employment relationship is the more vulnerable workers are to abuse. If a hotel can’t direct hire directly, it’s important to research subcontractors’ recruitment and labor practices and create oversight systems to enforce the transparency.

  7. Work with Suppliers who Responsibly Source their Products

    • Forced labor can occur within the supply chain of a hotel’s vendors and subcontractors (e.g. manufacturers of bedsheets, coffee, etc.).

    • Hotels should request copies of a potential vendor’s corporate responsibility policies addressing their commitment to fair labor.

  8. Post the National Human Trafficking Hotline

    • Many survivors in Polaris focus groups strongly urged the importance of the Hotline number being posted inside the hotel room since this is where survivors would have the greatest access.

  9. Advocate for Appropriate Legislation

    • Connecticut’s Public Act No. 16-71 is exemplary model for the nation and includes key components such as:

      • Mandatory training to all staff on how to recognize potential human trafficking.

      • Concrete steps staff can take to deter traffickers and connect victims to services.

      • Requirements for hotels and motels to keep track of all guest transactions and receipts.

      • Requirements for hotels and motels to post a notice about what human trafficking is and how to obtain help through the National Hotline.

      • Mandatory compliance with the Hotline posting law as part of the state’s hotel certification process.v

Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.

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