New Report: More Hotels Are Prepared to Deal with Human Trafficking

human trafficking, meetings
Carlson Companies was the first major hotel chain to sign the Code, in 2004.

A new report shows that hotels are increasing their employee training around human trafficking, in large part due to the work of ECPAT-USA. “No Vacancy for Child Sex Traffickers” explores how many hotels now have training, as well as the outcome of that training, based on a study by the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.

More than 50 percent of the hotels in USA have trained their staff to identify and responding to human trafficking, according to the study. Of those, 35 percent have used ECPAT-USA‘s training. Also impressive was the finding that 6 out of the 10 largest hotel chains in the world are working with ECPAT-USA’s training and 93 percent of managers said they had increased knowledge due to this training.

ECPAT began its mission to educate the US hotel industry—and the meetings and incentives industry—about human trafficking 13 years ago. In 2004, Carlson Companies, then owners of Radisson Hotels and many other brands, became the first major hotel company to sign the Code. Today, most of the largest hotel brands in the country have either signed the Code (The Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, the only voluntary set of set of business principles travel and tour companies can implement to prevent child sex tourism and trafficking of children) or are training using ECPAT-USA’s vetted information.

According to ECPAT-USA Executive Director Carol Smolenski, the next initiative from her organization will be to create a training program for people who work in travel management companies. “That will bring the child protection message to a host of new companies and individuals, both in the travel industry and in the broader corporate community.”

Here’s more information about how to spot human trafficking in hotels.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.