An anti-trafficking charter is being trialled and tested by a hotel company to raise awareness and minimise the risks of modern slavery within the hospitality industry.
The charter is currently being piloted by the Shiva Foundation, a corporate body set up by Shiva Hotels at one of the properties it manages, the Doubletree by Hilton London Excel.
Due to be launched by the end of the year, the charter will include practical guidance on how to spot and report concerns, steps to identify potential risks in supply chains, and protocols to minimise the risks of modern slavery.
According to the Shiva Foundation, around nearly 12,000 people are involved in modern slavery in the UK, from goods produced by forced labour to staff being forced to work against their will and hotels being used for sexual exploitation. Victims are said to often be unaware that their treatment is illegal.
During the trial at the Doubletree by Hilton, Shiva Hotels' mission statement on anti-trafficking is available on the televisions in each of the 260 bedrooms. The charter will eventually be rolled out across the company's 10-strong portfolio of hotels, including several under development. As well as intending to raise awareness of the problem among staff, it is also hoped that the charter will encourage vigilance among guests.
Shiva Hotels said that the Doubletree by Hilton has never encountered any problems with modern slavery, but that taking proactive steps against any possible risks will promote accountability and transparency.
In its wider commitment to tackling modern slavery, the company, in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, is hosting a round table to discuss the issue in London on 2 November, attended by a cross-section of hoteliers. Shiva Foundation intends to announce its plans for tackling modern slavery at the Trust Women conference, in London, later next month.
Rishi Sachdev, founder and director of Shiva Foundation and Shiva Hotels, said it is important that members of the hospitality industry work together to combat modern slavery. "Real change takes commitment and collaboration," he explained. "By sharing knowledge and expertise we can ensure that best practice is spread more quickly, helping ensure the safety and livelihoods of those who may be at risk."
Shiva Hotels was founded in 2003. Its London portfolio includes the Kingsway Hall in Covent Garden, Millennium Bridge House, St Paul's, and Hampton by Hilton in Waterloo.
Shiva Foundation was established in 2012 by Rishi Sachdev and his wife Meenal.
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