HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND—To coincide with World Day Against Trafficking in Persons late last month, Shiva Hotels has launched industry-leading measures to tackle modern slavery and raise awareness of the issue across its portfolio of hotels, which include prestigious hotels like Kingsway Hall Hotel in Covent Garden, as well as others in Waterloo and Heathrow.
The new measures will include practical training for more than 400 employees and a consumer-facing campaign for guests in five United Kingdom hotels that receive more than 750,000 guests every year.
COMBAT, a European Commission funded project, found that annually 93,000 people were sexually exploited and another 4,500 were exploited for labor in European hotels. With an estimated 11,700 people living in modern slavery in the United Kingdom, there is an opportunity for the hotel and hospitality industry to help combat sexual exploitation and forced labor.
Signs to Look Out For
In late July, Shiva Hotels trained its staff on how to safeguard against the risks of modern slavery in facilities, employment practices and supply chains. Hotel staff and guests can both play a role in the detection of modern slavery. Signs they have been asked to look out for include, among others:
- Adult guests who appear secretive about their visit or trying to conceal that they are with a young person.
- Behavioral observations such as one person being overly controlling or not allowing the other to speak.
- Unusual repeat bookings made in cash or late check-ins without any luggage.
Each hotel in the portfolio also ran a consumer-facing campaign in its lobby on July 30, in support of the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign against Human Trafficking. Guests and staff were encouraged to create a heart shape using their hands, and share the image on social media using #IGiveHope. The campaign seeks to raise awareness and inspire action against modern slavery whilst showing solidarity with victims. Information and leaflets on what people can do to take action will also be available.
Last autumn, Shiva Foundation convened a group of hotel industry leaders, including Hilton, Bespoke Hotels and WGC, to form the Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network. The network brings together representatives from across the hotel industry to combat human trafficking and modern slavery within the sector. Its ethos is that people across the industry, whether international brands, bespoke hotel groups, independent owners, managers or employment agencies, are all responsible for combating modern slavery. The network fosters communication and collaboration to establish industry-wide anti-trafficking tools and guidance.
Not only is Shiva Foundation creating a leading example by collaborating with industry peers on the issue, they are also sharing practical guidance, best practice and training materials that have been used to develop the Blueprint recently piloted at one of their hotels, the DoubleTree by Hilton London Excel.
In late July the Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network launched a website and resource hub, funded and coordinated by Shiva Foundation. The website will provide information on the network, its core purpose and its activities, whilst the hub will provide industry members, as well as the wider business community, with access to a range of relevant anti-trafficking materials and resources, all created by reputable organizations or governments.