A new report from the Shiva Foundation is urging the hotel and hospitality sector to collaborate to tackle modern slavery.
The report, Charting a Course for Collective Action: Addressing Slavery in the Hotel Industry, is being launched today at ‘Collaborating to Tackle Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery', an event co-hosted with the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
The report is based on research over the past year by the Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network, a group of hoteliers assembled by the Shiva Foundation, set up by Shiva Hotels, as well as a wider consultation with the hospitality sector backed by the British Hospitality Association.
It is estimated that there are 115,000 human trafficking victims in the hospitality sector in Europe, of whom 93,500 are sexually exploited and nearly 7,000 are labour exploitation victims working in hotels.
The Shiva Foundation is encouraging hotel and hospitality organisations to:
• Use collective purchasing power to reward responsible suppliers
• Share successes, failures and ideas to increase the flow of information between companies and sectors
• Showcase their commitment to tackling modern slavery, for example publicly displaying commitment to addressing the issue in hotel lobbies.
The report's recommendations also call for stronger, targeted action from labour market regulators; a working group on slavery including smaller hotel companies; and for all organisations to submit a modern slavery statement.
Kevin Hyland, the UK's independent anti-slavery commissioner, said taking action is not just a moral obligation, but that it also makes good business sense:"Forced labour in company operations or supply chains has the potential to disrupt business, weaken investor confidence and cause significant brand damage."
Meenal Sachdev, director of Shiva Foundation, said: "By collaborating more often, more honestly and with more organisations, we can help drive real action."
Shiva Foundation also offers a hotel industry blueprint, which has been implemented across five hotels since July 2017, and a framework for working with suppliers, outlining how to mitigate the risks of modern slavery in working with suppliers.
Aldijana Sisic, chief of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, added: "To end human trafficking we need meaningful policies and global best practices that are rigorously implemented through joint efforts of public, private, civil society sectors and the UN."
Fran Hughes, director of the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), said: "By making the hotel and hospitality industry aware of the risks and recommended actions, including those set out in Shiva Foundation's new report, we can help ensure the safety and livelihoods of those who may be exploited."
Shiva Hotels was founded in 2003. Its London portfolio includes the Kingsway Hall in Covent Garden, Millennium Bridge House, and the Hampton by Hilton Waterloo. Shiva Foundation was established in 2012 by Shiva Hotels founder Rishi Sachdev and his wife Meenal.
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