Home Publisher's Point of View The Hospitality Show & Marriott’s Trafficking Survivor Fund Announcement

The Hospitality Show & Marriott’s Trafficking Survivor Fund Announcement

Glenn Hasek

I just returned from The Hospitality Show in Las Vegas this past week. An AHLA/Questex conference and trade show, the event drew more than 3,500 attendees and 300 vendors. The event will return next year but in San Antonio in October. At least 70 to 80 of the vendors fell directly into the sustainability space—impressive to me and proof of how far our industry has come in recent years. Sustainability was also a frequent topic in the conference sessions.

The biggest news coming out of the conference was announced during a session entitled, “The Hospitality Industry v. Human Trafficking: Marriott and Polaris on Current Trends and Actions to Take.” The session was moderated by Chip Rogers, President & CEO, AHLA and included Catherine Chen, CEO, Polaris, and Anthony Capuano, President and CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

Capuano announced that the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and Marriott International have joined to contribute $550,000 to support the AHLA Foundation’s No Room for Trafficking (NRFT) Survivor Fund. This contribution increases the Fund to $3.4 million since its launch less than a year ago and will be used for grants to community-based organizations that provide financial support and stability to human trafficking survivors. The AHLA Foundation will award its first grants in July. Rogers said the AHLA Foundation will kick in an additional $5 million once the Fund reaches that amount.

The AHLA Foundation’s No Room for Trafficking program aims to unite the hospitality industry around its collective anti-trafficking efforts through training, education, and survivor support. Learn more about NRFT here.

Mandatory Trafficking Training

The announcement came just before the Virginia Department of Health’s July 1 launch of the enforcement of House Bill 258 (Hotels; human trafficking training). The act requires that every hotel proprietor require its employees to complete a human trafficking training course developed by the Department or an alternative online or in-person training course approved by the Department within six months of being employed by a hotel and thereafter at least once every two years, for as long as the employee is employed by the hotel.

The conference session, the Marriott announcement, and the Virginia bill are just a few examples among many of how seriously our industry, and government, are taking the trafficking issue.

Some facts mentioned during the trafficking session:

  • Some 38 to 40 million people in the world are involved in human trafficking, a $150 billion industry. A total of 1.1 million people in North America are in trafficking situations.
  • Polaris, which serves victims and survivors through its National Human Trafficking Hotline, has addressed more than 85,000 trafficking situations in the 15 years it has run the Hotline.
  • More than a million people have been trained through the AHLA Foundation’s No Room for Trafficking program. Marriott itself has had almost a million people trained, Capuano said.
  • “We want every single hotel employee to be trained,” Rogers said.
  • “The primary way victims are convinced is through coercion,” Chen said. “You are up against someone who may not know they need help.”
  • Since the pandemic, the method of “recruitment” has changed. Traffickers shifted their attention online.
  • Identifying traffickers and victims in a hotel environment is becoming more difficult because of technological advancements that have eliminated the need to check in at a front desk.
  • A survivor can sue a corporation that benefited from his or her trafficking situation.
  • Engaging with survivors is important. They are employable.
  • A national survivor study showed victims often live in extreme poverty, experience homelessness, and/or are having or had a mental health crisis.
  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline takes donations of hotel loyalty points.

Kudos to AHLA and Questex for putting together such an informative and highly successful first-time event.

Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers, and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.

Get in the Green Suppliers Spotlight!

Green Lodging News, lodging’s leading environmental news source, publishes Green Suppliers Spotlight, an e-blast to 19,680 subscribers that features the lodging industry’s leading green products and services. The e-blast features multiple vendors—unlike the current Green Supplier Spotlight that allows one supplier to “own” the Green Lodging News subscriber list for one e-blast. (Click here for a Green Suppliers Spotlight sample.)

Green Suppliers Spotlight is published weekly on Thursdays to general managers, owners, management companies, directors of sustainability, directors of engineering, facilities managers and many others who are either in purchasing positions or who influence purchasing decisions. Suppliers of green products and services throughout North America and beyond are invited to participate in the e-blast. (Minimum two suppliers per e-blast.) Green Suppliers Spotlight was created to give vendors an opportunity to reach a high number of industry purchasers at a very low cost—as low as $135 per e-mail. (Click here for rate sheet.)

Those advertising in Green Suppliers Spotlight can include up to 100 words, one image, contact information and multiple links to their website in their ad. At the end of each week, a report will be sent to each supplier with information on delivered e-mails, opens and click-throughs.

Planning Advertising for 2023?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2023. Many excellent spots are available on our website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier and Green Suppliers Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2023 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com. A media kit can also be accessed by clicking here. Thank you to all those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

Newsletter & Green Supplier Spotlight Circulation

The circulation of our weekly e-newsletter and Green Supplier Spotlight currently stands at 19,680. Thank you to our new subscribers for signing up. Be sure to encourage your colleagues to do the same. There are “subscribe” links on the Green Lodging News home page. You may also e-mail greenlodgingnews@gmail.com to be added to our list.

Green Lodging News & Social Media

Green Lodging News now has 1,734 Twitter followers. Thank you to all of those who follow our tweets. In addition to following us on Twitter, be sure to bookmark the Green Lodging News Blog in your browser. More importantly, participate with your comments. Green Lodging News is also on Facebook. Be sure to “Like” us there. Green Lodging News now has more than 1,300 Facebook followers.

As always, I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.