Outline of child behind barbed-wire fence
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com/portfolio/wildpixel

EDMONTON — In a ground-breaking initiative to combat human trafficking, the British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA), Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Saskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association (SHHA), Manitoba Hotel Association (MHA) and Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to develop and deliver human-trafficking awareness and prevention training and resources to hotels with the goal of training every hotel employee from B.C. to Ontario.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada, with thousands of victims being exploited annually. The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking estimates that more than 1,400 cases were reported to law enforcement between 2011 and 2019. These numbers continue to increase, and many incidents go unreported. Hotels can inadvertently become venues for traffickers, making it imperative for the hospitality industry to take a proactive stance in recognizing and preventing human trafficking.

“Since trafficking networks often rely on legitimate businesses — many in the tourism supply chain — to sustain their illicit and illegal operations, hoteliers are uniquely positioned to identify and disrupt this crime. This agreement empowers our members to be part of the first line of defense against trafficking activities, supporting the health and safety of our staff and guests, and helping victims to get the help they need,” says Tracy Douglas-Blowers, president & CEO, AHLA.

The MOA outlines a commitment by the five provincial hotel associations to:

  • Develop training materials that raise awareness of human trafficking among hoteliers.
  • Educate hotels, motels, and other accommodation providers about recognizing the signs of human trafficking.
  • Equip hotel owners and managers with the tools to train their staff on preventing and responding to potential human trafficking situations.

Partnering with NotInMyCity, the associations will create a “Not in Our Hotel” toolkit, which will include:

  • Best practices for accommodation providers.
  • Training materials for management and staff, including online courses that provide certificates of completion.
  • Posters and quick reference guides for employees.
  • Resources to help employees discuss human trafficking with their children and support staff impacted by trafficking.

Hotels are committed to creating safe environments for all guests and staff. By signing this MOA, the BCHA, AHLA, SHHA, MHA, and ORHMA demonstrate their dedication to combating human trafficking. This initiative not only aligns with federal and provincial efforts to eradicate human trafficking but also supports the safety and well-being of the communities hotels serve.

“Not In Our Hotel sends a loud and clear message: we will not tolerate human trafficking in the hotel industry. Thanks to our dedicated members and their staff, we already have a strong track record of combatting trafficking and supporting survivors. There’s still much more to do, and our commitment to training and education will continue to make the difference,” says Jim Bence, president & CEO, SHHA.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.