It is important to remember that trafficking for both sexual and labor exploitation occurs in hotels. Hospitality organization can potentially be considered “guilty” in an incident of human trafficking regardless of whether hotels:
ü are unknowing or unconscious participants,
ü adopt a “head in the sand” approach and ignore trafficking hints, or
ü are willing participants who may or may not share in the trafficking returns.
Hotels and other hospitality businesses have been identified as a convenient environment for sexual and labor exploitation, so, it is important that all staff members to be trained to be aware of the trafficking consequences and look for and spot the signs or signals of THB, regardless of their position or department.
Some owners or managers might hesitate in announcing their initiatives and actions to combat trafficking in their organization for fear of alienating community, customers, and investors, however, there is clearly more potential damage resulting from a lack of action. One only has to look at the volume of the negative image that companies received after the implication of some of their hotels in THB.
Lack of actions against human trafficking can cause significant damage. The reporting of a single human trafficking incident can result in (Crane, 2013):
• A negative impact on the hospitality organization reputation,
• Business interruptions by law enforcement organizations,
• Business interruptions due to public protests,
• Arising criminal or civil lawsuits,
• An erosion of customer trust in the hotel/brand,
• Decrease in stakeholders’ trust,
• Negative impact on staff morale, motivation and commitment,
• Decline in business profitability.
Therefore, the hospitality industry cannot afford to ignore this crime of exploitation and, in fact, should take steps to end it. Hospitality organizations must have an ethical and moral obligation to combat THB.
As corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown in importance, organizations should have become more mindful of human rights, labor rights, anti-corruption and more committed towards their community and environment. They are consequently calling for the support and involvement of their staff members in the fight against human trafficking (Kangaspunta, 2015). If hospitality organizations strengthen their anti-trafficking policies, it would promote antitrafficking efforts of law enforcement and regulators.
Moreover, hospitality staff must be trained and well equipped to detect instances of trafficking. With training and awareness about human trafficking, hospitality organizations are in a unique and critical position to (COMBAT, 2016):
ü Identify potential victims of human trafficking.
ü Detecting the trafficking activities.
ü Report situations to the law enforcement organizations immediately.
ü Deter future situations of human trafficking at properties.
It is so important to train employees how to detect the trafficking issues and how to identify the trafficker, but at the same level of importance, it is also important that there are clearly defined reporting procedures which staff can use without fear of punishment. Generally, some of the indicators tourism employees must be aware of include (Carolin et al., 2015):
ý A trafficker pays for services in cash one day at time.
ý Call a third party to finish the procedures
ý Always try to remove himself from any liability.
ý Escort his victim everywhere.
ý Control all or most money and identification papers of his victim.
ý Reserving adjacent rooms.
ý Showing up late or unusual hours.
ý Trafficker/victim interaction could include:
· Use inappropriate nicknames.
· Trafficker uses offensive slang.
· Openly frightens or physically assaults victim.
· Inconsistency in story.
ý The trafficker and the victim usually insist on little or no services (housekeeping and food service).
ý The trafficker and the victim also have little or no luggage/personal stuff.
ý Their rooms are accustomed by men.
ý Usually, the trafficker and the victim requests extra number of towels and linens.
ý The trafficker may request room with access to exits.
ý Use online services websites mostly (backpage.com, for example).
By actively combatting THB, hospitality organizations demonstrate to stakeholders (community, investors, customers, employees, and suppliers) that they support human and labor rights as well as anti-corruption initiatives. Such actions can help to enhance stakeholder trust in the business or the brand and improve value. Proactively addressing human trafficking can, therefore, help organizations to mitigate against legislative, regulatory and financial business risks (Tuppen, 2013).