Human trafficking generates around $150 billion a year worldwide in illegal profits, according to the International Labor Organization, and poses a complicated challenge for large hotel chains.
In 2020, more than 10,000 human trafficking cases were reported in the United States, 72% of which were related to sex trafficking, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Hotels and motels are among the most common places for sex trafficking due to their easy access, willingness to accept money, and lack of maintenance of facilities.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, as criminals abuse new hotel technologies like contactless check-in, making it harder to spot signs of trafficking. Meanwhile, sex trafficking lawsuits continue to pile up against hotel chains.
A law passed in 2000 to criminalize trafficking penalizes private entities that facilitate or are complicit in the illegal act. Since then, major hotel brands as well as smaller motels have been sued for negligence, profiting from and promoting sex trafficking.
Hotels such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt have implemented their own human trafficking training requirements for employees. Hotel staff are advised to look for warning signs, including paying cash, carrying a few personal items, and refusing housekeeping service for several days.
Most hotels and motels agree that they have a responsibility to detect, monitor and report potential traffic.
Watch the video to learn more.