ITP members are acutely aware of the risk to their supply chain of modern slavery and human trafficking, which is why they collaborate to help put an end to this often unseen crime. ITP’s James Murdoch, Global Operations Manager for YCI explains the issue and how hotels can work together to help prevent it.
World Day against Trafficking in Persons, is 30th July and an important day to reflect on a horrendous crime which affects the lives of many millions of people.
Human trafficking is the coerced movement of people for the purpose of exploitation; it is a form of modern slavery. The crime of human trafficking is commonly divided into the categories of trafficking for labour exploitation and trafficking for sexual exploitation, but there are other kinds of exploitation that include domestic servitude, forced military service, organ harvesting and criminal exploitation (e.g. forced benefit fraud).
Trafficking is a global problem which has a worldwide impact. As the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking states “virtually every country in the world is affected by trafficking for sexual exploitation or forced labour… the number of victims is believed to be reaching epidemic proportions”. The issue has unfortunately remained under the radar for many people until relatively recently, thankfully awareness of the crime is now spreading.
Hotels know there are many risks for them, typically where employees or sub-contracted staff recruited in from another country may have paid fees, or be indentured for a period or even have their passport removed preventing them from leaving. Lower paid roles like house-keeping are particularly at risk, as are hotels at the construction stage. Hotel rooms may be used during the trafficking process or for sexual exploitation.
ITP is working with members to address all these issues and many hotel groups are rolling out training and awareness-raising campaigns to help staff act when they see something concerning. Many display posters with helplines for staff who feel they may be the victim of human trafficking to seek help.
We’re also encouraging members to align with the United Nations’ Global Goals (the SDG’s – Sustainable Development Goals) which call for reduced inequalities and decent work for all, knowing that together we can have greater impact.
Finally ITP also offers a practical solution for hotels to support survivors of human trafficking. Once someone has escaped the horror of being trafficked they need support to rebuild their lives. As well as possibly suffering physical abuse, survivors are likely to have emotional and psychological trauma. Recovering from this and rebuilding self-esteem and confidence can be difficult. In some locations survivors might experience discrimination from others. Survivors might also be living in a new place, in a shelter or temporary accommodation. Getting back into education and finding a job can be problematic as many survivors have missing years or months of education.
YCI, The Youth Career Initiative our flagship employability programme empowers the survivors of human trafficking by partnering local non-profit organisations that support survivors. YCI then connects the non-profits with local hotels and creates the opportunities for survivors to retrain in a supportive and safe environment, and gain a new livelihood and career in hospitality. YCI also arranges workshops with our hotel partners to raise awareness of human trafficking.
YCI’s work to give employability training and opportunities in hospitality to disadvantaged young people has seen over 4000 graduate from the programme to date, with several of these being survivors of human trafficking. This success allows us to expand the programme helping even more disadvantaged young people and survivors of human trafficking in countries all around the world look forward to a safer, more stable future.