January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association Foundation (AHLA Foundation) is taking action. In partnership with the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), they launched the “No Room for Trafficking Awareness” campaign. This global campaign aims to raise awareness and educate hotel employees about the signs and ways to report instances of trafficking ahead of the Super Bowl on February 7th, 2021.
During the recent “It’s A Penalty’s 2021 Super Bowl Campaign” event in Tampa, FL, the AHLA Foundation collaborated with industry leaders and non-profits to raise awareness about human trafficking. The event highlighted the importance of preventing trafficking in the hotel industry and provided resources for hotel employees to identify and report trafficking incidents.
However, it’s not just about raising awareness. Providing training to hotel employees is essential to prevent human trafficking. By educating employees on the signs of trafficking, such as guests who refuse cleaning services, have a large number of visitors, or exhibit signs of physical or emotional abuse, hotels can take proactive steps to prevent trafficking. Additionally, training on how to report trafficking incidents is crucial to ensure that hotel staff feel confident and prepared to take action.
Well-trained hotel employees can make a significant impact in preventing human trafficking. By recognizing the signs and knowing how to report incidents, they can help protect vulnerable individuals and potentially save lives. The AHLA Foundation offers a free online training program called “The Five-Star Promise” to help hotel employees recognize and respond to human trafficking.
The Alarming Statistics of Human Trafficking and Super Bowl Events
The President of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Chip Rogers, recently shared a shocking statistic during the “No Room for Trafficking Awareness” campaign event in Tampa, FL. Every year, an estimated 40 million people worldwide are involved in human trafficking. Despite the pandemic, human trafficking hasn’t decreased, and Rogers revealed that there has been a 93% increase in recorded incidents involving child exploitation. This is a disturbing trend that must be addressed.
With the upcoming Super Bowl event in Florida, Attorney General Ashley Moody warned that the event attracts the criminal underworld, who prey on vulnerable individuals. She shared that during Super Bowl LIV in Miami, there were 47 human trafficking arrests and 22 victims recovered, including 4 girls under the age of 18. The statistics from the previous Super Bowl event highlight the need for increased awareness and training to prevent human trafficking.
The reality is that human trafficking is a global crisis that requires immediate attention. Super Bowl events have become a prime target for traffickers looking to exploit vulnerable individuals. The AHLA Foundation’s “No Room for Trafficking Awareness” campaign aims to equip hotel employees with the knowledge and tools needed to recognize and report trafficking incidents. By training hotel employees to identify the signs of trafficking, hotels can take proactive steps to prevent trafficking from occurring on their premises.
Taking Action Against Human Trafficking: Organizations’ Efforts
Organizations are taking a stand against human trafficking, and Hilton is leading the way in Florida. John Parkinson, the Hilton Area Vice President, shared how they are working towards retraining their 3,000 team members across their 53 properties in the Tampa and St. Pete area. They are also sharing a film from the ‘It’s a Penalty Campaign’ to educate their staff members on human trafficking prevention.
The ‘It’s a Penalty Campaign’ is a partner of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and is taking a stand against the exploitation and trafficking of vulnerable people. They have launched a global campaign to raise awareness, educate individuals on the signs to look for, and what local and national hotlines are available to report incidents. The campaign works with the sports industry and the travel and tourism industry to spot suspicious activities.
The Hillsborough Country Sheriff’s Office is also taking action against human trafficking. They recently announced ‘Operation Inception,’ which resulted in the arrest of 71 individuals on prostitution charges. The detectives worked undercover by posing as prostitutes on the streets or posting ads to meet up. Sheriff Chad Chronister emphasized the importance of eradicating the demand for human trafficking and their commitment to continuing their efforts beyond the upcoming Super Bowl event.
Human Trafficking Awareness Training in the Workplace
The Importance of Prevention trafficking is a global crisis that requires immediate attention, and Florida is taking action by requiring hotel owners and operators to provide human trafficking awareness training to new employees. This training helps combat trafficking by identifying the red flags of human trafficking and the next steps to take. Several human trafficking awareness training programs are available online or in-person for hoteliers who have yet to provide training to their employees.
One of the most reputable training resources is Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), a Seattle-based non-profit organization whose mission is to align and equip leaders to use the power of business to prevent human trafficking. BEST has trained over 33,800 hotel employees with their “Inhospitable to Human Trafficking” training program. Mar Brettmann, CEO of BEST, emphasizes the importance of training hotel staff to recognize the signs of a potential trafficking situation. Even with social distancing measures in place due to the pandemic, human trafficking is still occurring, and hospitality staff need to be more observant than ever to recognize the warning signs.
By providing human trafficking awareness training in the workplace, hoteliers can take proactive steps to prevent trafficking incidents. Educating employees on the signs of trafficking and how to report incidents is crucial to creating a safer environment for guests and employees alike. With the resources and training available, hotel owners and operators can play a crucial role in preventing trafficking incidents and protecting vulnerable individuals.
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