Hospitality Industry Human Trafficking Awareness Training to Be More Comprehensive and Global

By: Nicole Walker & Michelle Guelbart

ECPAT-USA and Marriott International, in collaboration with Polaris and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), are excited to announce updates to the current American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Institute (AHLEI) e-learning module that is used to train hospitality industry front-line employees.

The travel and tourism industry is in a unique position to identify victims because traffickers move across cities and countries using air and ground transportation companies. Hotels often serve as venues for exploitation, without the knowledge of owners. In addition, hotel employees may be victims of labor trafficking.

ECPAT-USA is working to get training to every hospitality employee, no matter what hotel property or brand they work for, because human trafficking can happen at any hotel. When employees are trained, they can better respond to situations of human trafficking and ensure safety.

The training update, entitled Your Role in Preventing Human Trafficking: Recognize the Signs, was created by ECPAT-USA in collaboration with Marriott, with input from Polaris, and is being re-launched through AH&LA EI. Within the hospitality industry there has been an increased global demand for brands all over the world to expand training on human trafficking. The newly updated training will:

  • Cover all forms of human trafficking

  • Include information on sex and labor trafficking, to give a more complete picture of human trafficking in general.

  • Include information about not only children, but also adults who may be victims of human trafficking within the hospitality industry.

  • A globalization of the training – so that it can be used all around the world at hotel properties outside of the U.S.; available in 15 languages.

  • Be compliant with many new city ordinances and state laws requiring hotels to train on human trafficking.

  • Offered complimentary to academic institutions.

“We are so excited that the update not only broadens training to include both labor and sex trafficking but it is also now relevant on a global level, said Michelle Guelbart, director of private sector engagement at ECPAT-USA. “The hospitality industry has made such headway in the fight against commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and we know that with this re-launch, we will see even more progress.

The new module was adapted from a partnership between ECPAT-USA and AHLEIto raise awareness about the role hospitality employees have in identifying and responding to child sex trafficking, which was launched in 2014. The program was widely licensed by hospitality brands, who we anticipate will switch over to the expanded and globalized update.

About 40% of all hotel properties in the U.S. currently have access to ECPAT-USA’s training. Through the new training, ECPAT-USA hopes to reach even more hotel employees – making hotel stays safer for everyone involved.

To view the AH&LA EI press release on the relaunch, click here.

To access the module, which can be purchased by property or licensed with AHLEI, click here.

To learn more about ECPAT-USA’s work with the travel industry to combat child sexual exploitation and trafficking click here.