Marriott International will launch an expanded version of its human trafficking awareness training on July 30, the United Nations’ World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the company announced. Marriott’s goal is to have all on-property staff by 2025 trained to recognize and respond to possible indicators of human trafficking at hotels.
Marriott was among the first lodging companies to address the challenge of human trafficking in hotels when it launched its initial awareness training program in 2016 and made it mandatory for on-property staff in both managed and franchised hotels globally in January 2017. To date, more than 850,000 Marriott employees have completed the training, according to the company.
As with its initial program, Marriott plans to work with ECPAT-USA, a nonprofit specializing in combatting human trafficking, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association Foundation to make the training available in early 2022 to the hospitality industry.
“Half a million hotel associates [from other companies] have already completed the existing e-learning program since we made it available in 2020, and the new information and innovative features of this updated training will facilitate an even greater impact,” said ECPAT-USA CEO Lori Cohen in a statement.
Contactless and mobile hotel experiences, accelerated by Covid-19, can make spotting potential indicators of trafficking more difficult, according to Marriott. The company worked with Polaris, which operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the United States, to develop storyboards and select scenarios based on calls to the hotline. In addition, the new training was developed in collaboration with survivor consultants and ECPAT-USA’s Survivors’ Council “to incorporate meaningful input from survivors throughout the training development.”
Many hospitality companies have pledged to fight human trafficking. In a 2019 BTN poll, 40 percent of travel manager respondents indicated they had received training in how to spot the signs of human trafficking. Further, in July 2019, ECPAT-USA launched a training module geared toward training travel and event professionals in how to spot and respond to potential trafficking situations.