New toolkit helps hotels tackle modern slavery

Time to address human trafficking on Anti Slavery Day

Hotels need to be aware of modern slavery risk

A new guide that helps hotels reduce the risk of modern slavery taking place on their properties has been launched by the University of West London (UWL).

The practical toolkit for combating human trafficking was unveiled at a meeting of the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, and the European Hotel Federation by co-author Professor Angela Roper.

The launch is timely for the UN’s Human Rights Day.

It is estimated there are 32,000 trafficking victims in the UK and 1.14 million in Europe, but the true figure could be far higher. Research suggests the true scale of the problem is vast, with potentially 21 million people worldwide the victims of human exploitation and forced labour.

This is important for the hospitality industry which is vulnerable to human trafficking potentially involving either guests or staff. These instances may happen in plain sight but can pass people by if the warning signs are not spotted. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires companies with a global turnover of more than £36m operating in the UK to register their statement of action on modern slavery, and more countries are expected to follow suit.

But despite this legal requirement to take human trafficking and modern slavery seriously, there are still few resources available for hospitality sector businesses that help to educate staff and implement measures which reduce the risk.

The ‘COMBAT Trafficking in human beings in the hotel industry’ toolkit is a new solution for hotels seeking to minimise the risk of human trafficking on their premises. It comprises a raft of practical measures to help hotels minimise the risk of human trafficking.

Report co-author, Professor Alexandros Paraskevas, Chair of Hospitality Management at UWL’s London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism, said, ‘We hope the COMBAT Project will help to eradicate the scourge of modern slavery, which the hospitality and tourism industry is determined to tackle. COMBAT is an important resource for hotels to reduce their exposure to the risk of human trafficking. This is a significant and ongoing issue and more research is needed if our ambition to stop human trafficking is to succeed.’

The toolkit includes reference guides and training material for hotel executive management teams, senior management teams and members of staff. It also features seven case studies from human trafficking victims, who lift the lid on the exploitation they suffered.

Training for hotels on how to implement the toolkit are available by Prof Roper and Prof Paraskevas.

The International Tourism Partnership is a keen supporter of efforts in the industry to raise awareness of human trafficking and actions to reduce it. We work with partners like ECPAT and our hotel members to do this, as well as supporting Polaris and The Shiva Foundation in their work to prevent it. Human Rights Day is an opportunity for all companies to re-examine their role in protecting the rights of employees and other stakeholders throughout their supply chains. Green Hotelier has two free Know How Guides available – one on Human Rights in the Hotel Industry as well as our guide to Addressing Human Trafficking in the Hospitality Industry, which was freshly updated this year.

For more information on COMBAT training for businesses, contact mailto: Alexandros.Paraskevas@uwl.ac.ukor Angela.Roper@uwl.ac.uk.

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