BETHESDA, Md. — Marriott International has successfully trained 500,000 hotel workers to spot the signs of human trafficking in its hotels and how to respond if they do.

“Human trafficking is a horrific form of modern slavery that entraps millions of people around the world,” says Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International. “By educating and empowering our global workforce to say something if they see something, we are not just standing up for the most vulnerable in society, we are also protecting associates and guests, as well as living up to a core company value — serving our world.”

Marriott launched its mandatory human-trafficking awareness-training program for on-property staff in both managed and franchised properties in January 2017.

To develop and test its human-trafficking awareness-training program, Marriott spent nearly a year collaborating with ECPAT-USA and Polaris — two leading non-profits specializing in combatting human trafficking. The company arranged for the program to be translated from English into 16 additional languages and also made sure it could be taken either online or in a classroom setting, so it can be accessed and understood in the 130 countries and territories where Marriott operates. The instruction is also broken down by role, because the signs that a front-desk clerk sees may differ from those that a housekeeper or bartender sees.

Since launching the program, this training has directly resulted in young people being removed from dangerous situations.

“Hotel workers wouldn’t necessarily see a human trafficker visibly restraining a victim; they would typically see a scenario that is much more nuanced and harder to detect if you don’t know what to look for,” says Dr. David Rodriguez, Chief Global Human Resources Officer, Marriott International. “That’s why helping hotel workers identify the signs of sexual exploitation and forced labour is so important. This knowledge gives them confidence that they can do something to help, which is already having an important impact in our hotels.”


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