American Hotel & Lodging Association

ECPAT-USA Offering New Resources to Help Hotels Fight Trafficking of Children

ECPAT-USA Offering New Resources to Help Hotels Fight Trafficking of Children

ECPAT-USA and American Hotel & Lodging Association Build on Partnership to Distribute New Materials for Hotels

Brooklyn, NY (May 24, 2018) — Hotels have new resources to help associates identify and prevent human trafficking and child exploitation, ECPAT-USA announced today. Hotels can download the following materials for free from ECPAT-USA’s website

  • Informative back-of-house posters to remind staff about the signs of human trafficking and how to respond if they see suspicious activity. 

  • Position-specific indicator palm cards to share with associates so they have fast access to the signs and swiftly follow hotel protocols for responding to cases.

  • Public area (front-of-house) posters that meet several state laws, which require hotels to post signage about human trafficking that includes the National Human Trafficking Hotline. 

ECPAT-USA has a long history of working with the hotel industry. Most major hotel brands have signed the ECPAT Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (The Code). The Code is an industry-driven set of initiatives travel companies can implement to prevent child sex trafficking and exploitation. Code companies commit to training their staff to recognize when someone might be a victim. 

“Children are identified as victims of trafficking at hotels across the country, putting hotel employees in a unique position to identify trafficking and take action to help victims,” said Carol Smolenski, Executive Director of ECPAT-USA. “From check-in to check-out, there are a number of indicators victims and traffickers exhibit during the time they're on a hotel property. With proper training, a front desk agent or a housekeeper can notice that something is not right and respond.”

“AHLA and the hotel industry take the issue of human trafficking very seriously, and we recognize the important role hotels can play in helping to fight it,” said Craig Kalkut, Vice President of Government Affairs at AHLA. “AHLA and its members are focused on raising awareness within the industry, training employees, and supporting non-profit organizations and law enforcement in their efforts to combat these terrible crimes. ECPAT-USA has been a valuable partner in these efforts, and we appreciate everything they are doing to put an end to these heinous crimes.”

These newly available resources add to ECPAT-USA’s growing collection of tools for hotels. Notably, ECPAT-USA offers a training program for hotel associates developed in partnership with the hotel industry, which is distributed by American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute, and is already used globally by hotel brands.


ECPAT-USA is the leading anti-child trafficking organization in the United States seeking to end the commercial, sexual exploitation of children through awareness, advocacy, policy, and legislation. ECPAT-USA is a member of ECPAT International, a network of organizations in more than 90 countries with one common mission: to eliminate the sexual exploitation of children around the world. For more information, visit


About AHLA

The American Hotel & Lodging Association is the sole national association representing all segments of the U.S. lodging industry, and has long worked to combat human trafficking. As part of its ongoing campaign to raise awareness and facilitate training in the industry, AHLA has conducted webinars for members, issued industry principles on human trafficking, hosted a variety of trafficking experts to speak at its meetings and conferences, endorsed legislation, taken part in panels discussions organized by law enforcement and other stakeholders, and partnered with organizations like ECPAT-USA.

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.