Marriott International has trained 500,000 hotel workers to spot the signs of human trafficking, action that has already seen young people removed from dangerous situations.
Staff have been taught to report suspicious activity such as guests with minimal clothing or luggage, multiple men being escorted to a guest room, individuals who seem disoriented or unable to speak freely as well as guests who insist on little or no housekeeping.
“Human trafficking is a horrific form of modern slavery that entraps millions of people around the world,” said Arne Sorenson, president and chief executive of Marriott International. “By educating and empowering our global workforce to say something if they see something, we are not just standing up for the most vulnerable in society, we are also protecting our associates and guests as well as living up to a core company value – serving our world.”
Marriott introduced mandatory human trafficking awareness in both managed and franchised properties in January 2017. Role-specific programmes have been delivered in 17 languages across the 130 countries and territories where Marriott operates.
The move followed a report from the International Labour Organization which projected that worldwide more than 40 million people are subjected to modern slavery, with UNICEF having estimated that about 25% of trafficking involves children.
Dr David Rodriguez, chief global human resources officer at Marriott International explained: “Hotels can unfortunately be unwilling venues for this unconscionable crime – and as a global hotel company that cares about human rights, we’re proud to be training hotel workers across the Marriott system to spot the signs.
“There is no easy fix, but combatting modern-day slavery starts with awareness – and we now have a significant number of people capable of recognising suspicious behaviour and reporting it to management and, in some cases, law enforcement.”
He added: “In a hotel, our people wouldn’t necessarily see a human trafficker visibly restraining a victim; they would typically see a scenario that is much more nuanced and harder to detect if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why helping associates identify the signs of sexual exploitation and forced labour is so important. This knowledge gives our associates confidence that they can do something to help, which is already having an important impact in our hotels.”