ITP and The Mekong Club host hotels modern slavery workshop in Hong Kong

Modern Slavery workshop in Hong Kong

Modern Slavery workshop in Hong Kong

To help the hospitality industry in Hong Kong and Asia better understand the issue of trafficking and what strategies hotels are using to protect their businesses from this threat, the Mekong Club and ITP - the International Tourism Partnership are co-hosting a seminar in Hong Kong.

Modern slavery and the hospitality industry: an update will run on October 17th, from 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM at Baker McKenzie, Central Hong Kong.

The seminar will include an overview of the problem, recent statistics and trends, and a detailed analysis of the touchpoints where this crime may occur in hotel operation, best practice sharing from the Intercontinental Hotel Group and an opportunity to discuss how the hospitality industry in Hong Kong could collaborate to tackle this crime. A networking reception will follow.

Modern slavery is a serious issue for the hospitality sector. Forced prostitution and forced labour are real concerns that affect the entire industry, from budget to five-star hotels. Due to the clandestine nature of the problem, these situations are often hidden and underreported. Some of the main ways in which the hospitality industry can be used as a conduit for this criminal activity includes forced prostitution, supply chains, third-party contractors and construction.

Forced Prostitution: The privacy that they offer and the transient nature of their guests means that hotels can be prime venues for commercial sexual exploitation, a term used to describe a person in forced prostitution. The victims of this crime are controlled by their captors using threats or debt for the purpose of generating profits through the sale of sex. In recent years, many hotels have developed policies and procedures for staff to identify and report this issue.

Supply Chains: Hotels procure a wide range of products, including seafood, furniture and linen, some of which can be harvested or produced with forced labour. For example, fishing industries around the world have been found to have seafood that is caught by modern slaves. Understanding the risk of modern slavery within hotel supply chains is now a priority for many hotels.

Third-Party Contractors: Hotels sometimes use third-party service providers as house cleaners, caregivers, gardeners and dishwashers. Some of these people might be migrant workers who are in employment situations that include debt bondage or forced labour. When carrying out due diligence processes, hotels must investigate and ensure that the businesses providing these services are ethical and do not exploit their workers.

Construction: Modern slaves can be found working on major hotel construction sites. Within the range of subcontractors supporting a major build, there are sometimes exploitative approaches used to recruit unskilled workers whose wages are withheld and never paid.

Every sector, business and hotel is affected in some way by these issues and obliged to learn more and be part of the solution.

The Mekong Club is a Hong Kong based organisation that works collaboratively with businesses from several sectors to advance their anti-slavery agenda. The International Tourism Partnership provides a non-competitive platform for hotel industry leaders to share ideas, build relationships and work collaboratively to make this one of the world's most responsible industries.

The seminar is free, but registration is required. To sign up and receive the full agenda please contact silvia.mera@themekongclub.org.

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