Business travel and meetings industries join in fight against human trafficking

August 12, 2014 |

The business travel and meetings industries are joining forces to fight back against human trafficking. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has receive more than 14,000 cases of trafficking in the U.S. since 2008.

People from all over the world are falling victim to modern-day slavery and it’s estimated that there have been more than 20.9 million victims of human trafficking to date across the globe. Millions of those who are trafficked are children and many others are put to work and exploited through labor.

The travel, meetings and hospitality industries are an indirect contributor to human trafficking, and as a result, the three groups have come together to combat and raise awareness on the issue.

“I have been finding more and more with arrests of traffickers, there are a couple of things consistent in the arrest stories,” ECPAT USA director of private sector engagement Michelle Guelbart told Business Travel News. “For instance, the exploitation occurs in a hotel setting or the perpetrator is arrested in a hotel setting, so the hotel industry is in a unique position to [observe] traffickers and report cases to law enforcement.”

When staff from the hotel industry report suspected cases of human trafficking to the authorities, it’s often because they recognized the warning signs and took the steps established by ECPAT International in The Code. This includes providing proper training for employees regarding the prevention of sexual exploitation and the rights of children, reporting any suspected human trafficking cases and the having a set policy and procedures against the exploitation of children. Warning signs of possible human trafficking include confusion from guests about why they are in a hotel, guests asking for rooms near exits and several men coming in and out of rooms.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center encourages those that know of cases regarding human trafficking to contact the hotline at 888-373-7888 or emailing nhtrc@polarisproject.org.