Human Trafficking and Hotels & Motels

Hotels and motels are critical sites for both sex and labor trafficking business operations. Many have stepped up to ensure front-line staff are well trained in identifying potential signs of sex trafficking, but potential labor trafficking occupying the rooms and within the hotel’s supply chains may go unchecked.

Hotels & Motels in Trafficking Operations

Hotels are a crucial piece of the infrastructure necessary to facilitate sex trafficking in “in-call” and “out-call” escort services. Hotels and motels may also be used for commercial sex acts in other sex trafficking business models where solicitation may be initiated elsewhere like nearby streets, bars, strip clubs, cantinas, or truck stops. Magazine sales crews rely on hotels and motels as they travel from state to state. Labor trafficking may also occur within a hotel supply chain, most notably including housekeepers working for hotel subcontractors, but additionally in the manufacturing of vendor products such as linens, coffee, and soaps.

Indicators for Hotels & Motels

Hotel staff have a unique vantage point to identify potential human trafficking victims on their properties. Several major hotel chains have recognized this and taken the responsibility to train their staff on human trafficking recognition and reporting. The indicators can differ depending on the type of trafficking. In the report, we discuss type-specific indicators of in-call escort services, out-call escort services, traveling sales crews, and other labor trafficking such as in housekeeping and in other hotel subtractors.

Hotels & Motels for Victims & Survivors

Most survivors have indicated that they did not receive any assistance, concern, or identification from hotel staff during their trafficking experience. This may be due to a lack of training on human trafficking recognition and reporting protocols for hotel staff. For many survivors, hotels are sometimes their safest option for short-term emergency shelter when escaping their trafficking situation, creating an opportunity for hotels to step up and donate hotel points for safe housing.

Hotels & Motels Recommendations

Since hotels are intrinsically tied to human trafficking, they can become a central component in disrupting and preventing the crime. This report outlines several recommendations including enacting policies to directly hire employees whenever possible, working with suppliers and vendors who responsibly source their products, formally adopting a company anti-trafficking policy, and allowing hotel points donations to lend support to local shelters when they’re overcrowded or unavailable. Hotels and motels should also train staff on what to look for and establish a response plan involving a safe reporting mechanism.