ATLANTA—The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), in partnership with Polaris—an anti-human trafficking organization—launched a new digital no-cost training program for members and their employees that focuses on raising awareness of human trafficking in the hospitality industry. The AAHOA Human Trafficking Awareness Training (HTAT) is available exclusively to AAHOA’s nearly 18,000 members and the more than 600,000 employees at member properties.
“It’s become increasingly apparent that human traffickers are attempting to use hotels as venues for their illicit activities by abusing the privacy that is afforded to hotel guests,” AAHOA President/CEO Chip Rogers told Hotel Business.
The training provides an overview of sex and labor trafficking, discusses red flags and provides case examples. Participants are also informed about appropriate steps to respond to suspected instances of trafficking. “Hoteliers and their employees who know what to look for and how to address suspected instances of human trafficking, whether its forced commercial sex work or forced labor, can be instrumental in denying these criminals a space, while helping trafficking victims,” said Rogers.
Also partnered with the DHS Blue Campaign and Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking, Rogers noted that AAHOA aims to to ensure its members have the tools they need to become educated about how to identify and prevent trafficking.
“Privacy, anonymity and a frequently changing clientele make hotels attractive to traffickers as a place to operate because they can more easily blend in and keep their criminal enterprise relatively mobile,” he explained.
Upon completion of the training, participants earn a certificate, which may satisfy state and/or local training requirements.
“Breaking up human trafficking networks can save lives, but that can only happen if responsible people know how and when to act,” said Rogers. “Failing to use our influence to promote awareness of this issue and equip our members with the knowledge to prevent these criminal networks and individuals from operating in our communities would be negligent at the most fundamental level of human decency.”