The International Tourism Partnership brings together the world's leading international hotel companies to provide a voice for social and environmental responsibility in the industry. We engage in ongoing dialogue to reach collaborative solutions to common critical issues. Human Trafficking1 is the modern form of slavery and the fastest-growing international crime, affecting many industries worldwide.
In 2005 the International Labour Organization estimated that human trafficking is the third-largest illicit moneymaking venture in the world, after drug dealing and the arms trade, generating about $32 billion annually. According to UNICEF, 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, exposing them to violence and sexual exploitation. As an industry we recognize that we have a responsibility around the world to help play a critical role in increasing awareness and prevention, both directly and through the supply chain.
These crimes, in particular the exploitation of children, are known to occur on occasion at hotel properties, which are publicly accessible. It is important to note that cases of child exploitation or "sex trafficking‟ in hotels are rare and that perceived suspicious activity can have an innocent explanation. We strongly support efforts designed to deter abuse and exploitation of children at our properties. We also recognise the importance of maintaining our guests' legal right to privacy.
As leaders in the industry, we support the Guiding Principles outlined in the UN's “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework for Business and Human Rights by taking a zero tolerance approach to human trafficking within our spheres of influence. Eliminating human trafficking and the exploitation of children is a long, complex process that can only be fully realized by constructive partnering with law enforcement at all levels, governments, NGOs, communities and business across industries including their employees and customers.
To demonstrate our absolute commitment we are:
- Developing a corporate strategy for an anti-trafficking policy, which will permeate all activities, including supplier codes of conduct, and clear procedures for reporting any suspected incidences.
- Contributing to the prevention of human trafficking, through awareness training and engagement of our employees and guests, where practical.
- Developing and sharing best practice.
As many branded hotels in the industry are operated under a franchising arrangement, it should be recognised that they are independently owned and operated establishments. However, it is imperative that all of our hotels obey the law and ensure that their operations comply with relevant standards of ethics and business conduct. It is our obligation to reinforce throughout our networks that illicit activity like human trafficking not only puts our brand reputation at risk, but also has the potential to endanger our employees and guests.
1 UN Palermo Protocol Definition: "Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CTOC/index.html)