SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) announces a new partnership with the nonprofit, Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST), to provide free human trafficking training for CHLA members and their employees. BEST’s Inhospitable to Human Trafficking training explains human trafficking in relation to the hotel industry, how employees can identify the warning signs, and how to report human trafficking incidents to law enforcement. By partnering with BEST to offer this free training, CHLA is helping its members comply with the new state law requiring hotel and lodging employees undergo human trafficking awareness training by 2020.
Human trafficking networks often rely on legitimate businesses, like hotels, to sustain their operations and infrastructure. The constant turnover of new guests can help traffickers and buyers feel they are less likely to have their crimes detected by law enforcement. Given the pervasive nature of human trafficking and the limited ability of law enforcement to identify and intervene in these cases, hotel workers who have direct contact with guests are in a unique position to be the first to spot potential human trafficking activity and report it to managers. It is essential that hotel employees who have direct contact with guests are trained in what to look for, so they can recognize the warning signs of human trafficking.
Senate Bill 970 (Atkins), supported by CHLA, was signed into law in September 2018 to ensure California lodging establishments provide at least 20 minutes of training and education regarding human trafficking awareness to each employee who is likely to interact with victims of this crime. Training must be completed by January 1, 2020, or within six months of hire for workers employed after July 1, 2019, and every two years thereafter.
BEST’s Inhospitable to Human Trafficking meets all the state’s requirements. BEST uses video interviews from hospitality professionals, legal experts, and human trafficking survivors to help employees learn about the risks of human trafficking in hotels. It is a 30-minute online training that can be taken by individual hotel employees or in a larger group setting. The training is available in English and Spanish, and it has been proven to increase hotel employee reporting. Researchers from the University of Washington evaluated BEST’s hotel training and found that trained employees were more likely to report human trafficking incidents to their managers. Researchers also learned 96 percent of hotel employee participants believe BEST’s training made their hotel safer.
“We are pleased to be partnering with the California Hotel & Lodging Association to prevent human trafficking. This important training will enable California hotel owners and operators to meet the state’s new requirement to train all hotel workers in human trafficking awareness by the year 2020,” said Mar Brettmann, PhD, Executive Director for BEST. “We know that increasing the number of hotel employees receiving training results in the recovery of more human trafficking victims, so that victims can get connected with supportive services.”
By offering this free training, CHLA can help support members in their efforts to comply with the state’s training requirements and help vulnerable youth, who are the victims of traffickers, escape a life of harmful sexual exploitation.
“Our industry is a long-time advocate in the prevention, identification and notification of human trafficking. By working closely with Senator Atkins last year on SB 970, we ensured our shared goal of consistently and effectively training our employees to spot and report incidents of human trafficking was met,” said Lynn S. Mohrfeld, President and CEO of CHLA. “We are confident that the training provided by BEST will allow the California hotel industry to be a leader in the battle against human trafficking, while helping to protect employees and innocent victims.”
About Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST)
Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST) is a Seattle-based nonprofit organization with the mission to align and equip leaders to use the power of business to prevent human trafficking. BEST is the first organization in the country dedicated entirely to working with businesses to disrupt human trafficking. BEST has provided consultation and training to hundreds of businesses on how to prevent human trafficking, and they have trained thousands of hotel employees in how to protect their hotel from human trafficking. For more information visit www.bestalliance.org.