Combatting Human Trafficking in the Hospitality Industry
By John Welty Practice Leader, SUITELIFE, Venture Insurance Programs | July 07, 2019
The films in the series Taken, starring Liam Neeson, paint a frightening picture of human trafficking. While traveling to Paris with her friend, Neeson's character's teenage daughter is abducted from the room in which she is staying by sex traffickers. In the movie, Neeson- conveniently an ex-CIA agent-was able to use his "very particular set of skills" to hunt down the criminals who took his daughter and her friend.
Though Neeson's character (spoiler alert) saves his daughter in the film, outside of Hollywood, human trafficking cases don't always have a happy ending. Fortunately, the hotel industry is working to be a part of the solution to modern-day slavery.
As we all know, Hollywood tends to incorporate drama and special effects to increase entertainment value, but the reality is trafficking is a problem in the real world, not just on the silver screen. Human trafficking is a danger for vulnerable groups all over the world, young people and immigrants. Hotels are often incorporated in the trafficking process for the privacy they offer–serving as private venues from which criminals can operate, temporarily reside or transport victims.
The Hard Facts
The non-profit group the Polaris Project works to put an end to human trafficking around the world. Research on Human Trafficking and the Hotel Industry, based on calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and texts to the Polaris BeFree helpline, show the involvement of the hotel industry in human trafficking in the United States between December 2007 through December 2017. Polaris reported 3,596 cases of trafficking in hotels and motels in the U.S. and found that 75 percent of all trafficking victims reported coming in contact with a hotel at some point during their abduction.
Survivors reported that their abductors mostly used the hotels for commercial sex (80 percent). However, others said the hotels were used for travel (69 percent), to provide shelter for victims while exiting a trafficking situation (47 percent), or by traffickers to house victims (20 percent).
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