What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a business in which men, women, and children from the United States and other foreign countries are trapped into forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. According to the Polaris Project,1 the estimated number of people in situations of trafficking rose by 12% in the period 2016–2021.

Human trafficking and the private sector

The recent report released by the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Walk Free organization2 estimates that 86% of labor trafficking cases are found in the private sector. Thus, it is impossible to think about addressing the causes of human trafficking without engaging businesses and corporations, such as hotels and transportation services, in improving their practices to prevent trafficking.

Hotels and human trafficking

“The hospitality industry plays a critical role in the fight against modern slavery, since many traffickers exploit their victims in hotels and motels,” said Bradley Myles, Chief Executive Officer of Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors.3 In 2019, a hotel franchise, Wyndham Hotels, was involved in a case related to human trafficking. According to Judge Marbley, Wyndham Hotels was on notice of the prevalence of sex trafficking at their hotels, but failed to take adequate steps in training their staff toward its prevention.

Two years later, Wyndham Hotel Group announced its partnership3 with Polaris to reinforce its commitment to prevent human trafficking. Part of this joint effort is the development of comprehensive training and educational tools for hotel owners and franchisees, property-level staff, and employees at its corporate offices and call centers, to educate them on the different aspects of human trafficking.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, do not hesitate to call 1-888-373-7888. You can also text HELP to BEFREE (233733), or email help@humantraffickinghotline.org. Visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline website for more information.

1.Polaris Project (September 14, 2022). New Estimates of Human Trafficking in the World: Shocking but Not Surprising. Retrieved from: https://polarisproject.org/blog/2022/09/new-estimates-of-human-trafficking-in-the-world-shocking-but-not-surprising/

2.The International Labour Organization (September 06, 2022). ILO, Walk Free, and IOM to release latest Global Estimates of Modern Slavery. Retrieved from: https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_854972/lang–en/index.htm

3.Polaris Project (November 17, 2014). Wyndham Hotel Group Partners with Polaris to Help Prevent Human Trafficking. Retrieved from: https://polarisproject.org/press-releases/wyndham-hotel-group-partners-with-polaris-to-help-prevent-human-trafficking/

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