Human Rights

Human rights is an issue that affects all industries but human trafficking and fair labour standards are of particular concern to the hotel sector.

What’s the problem?

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to. ITP has consulted stakeholders and members’ forums to identify the most salient human rights risks in the industry. Through this process the development and construction phase, supply chain and procurement, recruitment, and the potential use of hotels as venues for human trafficking were all identified as susceptible to human rights issues where industry collaboration is needed.

Why act?

We recognise that the hospitality industry can play an important role in preventing the exploitation of vulnerable people, especially children. The hospitality industry is a people industry and it is essential that we work together to support the protection of human rights of our colleagues, the parties we do business with, and the communities where we operate. Labour rights issues - decent hours, contracts and pay - are global human rights. Where the law is insufficient to protect workers’ rights, the United Nations Guiding Principles put the onus on the business to protect them. People are fundamental to excellent hotel service, so it is not just a moral imperative to create a strong and confident workforce, it also makes good business sense.

What is ITP doing?

ITP is committed to the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and the business responsibility to respect human rights as informed by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). ITP also commits to collaborate with the industry in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on human rights-related targets. Our Human Rights Working Group brings

members together to accelerate learning, share best practice and develop resources to help members address human rights issues. We actively engage with specialist international organisations, industry bodies and trade unions to accelerate learning on human rights. Our focus is working with stakeholders and members to deliver practical, business-focused solutions and resources. Together we developed a Human Trafficking Position Statement, a Know How Guide and Guidelines for Checking Recruitment Agencies. ITP's YCI programme is helping hotels to re-integrate survivors of human trafficking through secure employment.

Starwood unequivocally supports the protection of workers' and children's rights throughout our more than 1,200 properties globally. As a leader in the hospitality industry, it's important for us to establish and reinforce internal policies, and advocate for external standards, that not only ensure the protection of people within the communities we serve, but that also may encourage others within the travel and tourism industry to do the same.

Michelle Naggar, Vice President of Social Responsibility at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

What can I do next?

Assess where you may be exposed to human trafficking risk: in your operations, labour supply and supply chain. Our resources will help you understand the issues and give you the groundwork to develop sound policies and procedures. Take a good look at your current employment policies and procedures – and those of your contractors. Do they support staff development and career progression for all workers? Do they enable the most vulnerable workers to feel supported and represented? Ensure that there is not only good policy but effective monitoring. Talk to your workforce.