Hotels offer hope to survivors of human trafficking

Eunice describes her experiences in the short film

Eunice describes her experiences in the short film

Global hotel chains are working to ensure a brighter future for survivors of human trafficking, a new short film reveals.

The film ‘Giving Hope to Survivors of Human Trafficking – a short film by YCI’ tells the stories of survivors who are graduating from a six month training programme in hotels around the world, and are embarking on new careers and more promising futures.

The programme operates in partner hotel companies such as Carlson Rezidor, Marriott, Starwood and IHG with support from non-profit partners who identify young people with limited socio-economic opportunities. YCI (the Youth Career Initiative) offers classroom-based and practical learning in a range of departments throughout a hotel, as well as mentoring and life-skills to around 450 students every year.

YCI is a programme of the International Tourism Partnership and part of Business in the Community. Since 2011 the US State Department has provided funding which enabled this work to target survivors in India, Vietnam, Mexico, Ethiopia and Kenya. To date 46 survivors have graduated from YCI, and this number is set to increase with the launch of programmes in Delhi and Nairobi.

The film features Eunice, a YCI student in Nairobi, Kenya who alongside her fellow YCI students is learning to apply her skills in real-world scenarios in various working departments of the Norfolk by Fairmont, Nairobi, and receiving classroom and skills-based training from dedicated mentors at the hotel, as well as YCI supporting partners.

Following devastating experiences at the hands of human traffickers, Eunice and other graduates reveal how the programme has positively impacted their lives and given them hope for the future.

The programme works closely with hotel General Managers and departmental staff, with representatives of YCI’s non-profit partners, who act as mentors on hand to provide professional and personal guidance to ensure each survivor completes the programme successfully, and has the skills and self-confidence to pursue their chosen career and life path.

Worldwide around 75,000,000 young people are looking for work and are three times more likely to be unemployed than older adults. In many countries young people are at risk from exploitation and human trafficking. The global tourism industry provides one in eleven jobs and YCI creates the link by working with community organisations to identify eager young people in need and working with hotels to equip them with appropriate practical skills. The programme has an 85% success rate with graduates going on to find work or further education and many being employed in the hotels which trained them.

Human Trafficking - or modern day slavery - is the recruitment by threat or force of people into enforced labour and often prostitution. Every year 21 million men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers at home or abroad and are forced into situations from which it is hard to escape. 11.4 million are women and girls. Many are lured with a promise of work and taken far from their family and friends.

The hotel industry can be vulnerable to human trafficking, either from guest rooms where sexual exploitation may occur or through the unwitting use of forced labour in low paid, low skilled jobs across its supply chain.

The film shows how the hotel industry can act to help survivors piece their lives back together and offer them hope for the future.

YCI is a programme of ITP (the International Tourism Partnership) which works with hotel companies to act on human trafficking. Hoteliers who are keen to know more about the risk of human trafficking and their responsibilities – particularly with legislation coming in like the UK’s Modern Day Slavery Act - can hear ITP Director Fran Hughes present on the issue at HX – the Hotel Experience in New York on Monday 9th November alongside experts from ECPAT and POLARIS. In addition our Green Hotelier Know How guide is free to download.

Watch the video.

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