DHS has released a toolkit to help the hospitality industry combat human trafficking.
Human traffickers often take advantage of the anonymity of the hospitality industry to push victims into forced labor or use hotels as a backdrop for sex trafficking.
The guide has been published as part of DHS’s Blue Campaign, which works in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain labor or commercial sex, usually in one of three ways – either through sex trafficking, forced labor or domestic servitude. It’s estimated that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking), reportedly generating a profit of $32 billion every year. The subject has garnered heightened awareness in recent months with President Trump designating January “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month” and promising to sign two anti-trafficking bills into law.
The DHS guide includes a checklist of signs of human trafficking, including individuals who dress inappropriately for their age or have lower quality clothing compared to others in their party, and a group of males or females with identical tattoos in similar locations. This may indicate “branding” by a trafficker. It also highlights some steps that hospitality businesses can take to stop human trafficking. These include partnering with agencies that provide services to victims of human trafficking and providing employee training to help them understand and identify signs of human trafficking.
It stresses that hospitality staff should not attempt to directly confront a trafficker or alert potential victims to their suspicions. Instead, the guide recommends calling 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) to report suspicious criminal activity to federal law enforcement or submitting a tip at www.ice.gov/tips. Anyone concerned about trafficking can also get help from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.
The full guide can be viewed and downloaded here.