UK hotel group Shiva Hotels is looking to take human trafficking and modern slavery head on, launching an industry-first anti-slavery program, which it began rolling out across its hotels last week.
According to COMBAT, a European Commission funded project, of the more than 1.1 million victims of human trafficking each year, over 93,000 people were sexually exploited in European hotels and 4,500 were exploited for labor. The UK government estimates that there are up to 13,000 victims of slavery in the UK alone and the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that human trafficking is the third-largest illicit moneymaking venture in the world, generating about $150 billion annually — statistics that Shiva Hotels are hoping to change through its new program.
Shiva’s anti-slavery program will raise employee awareness around the issue and train staff on how to take action to prevent cases of modern slavery in hotel facilities, employment practices and supply chains. According to the group, common signs of human rights abuse include adult guests trying to conceal that they are with a young person, overly-controlling behavior and repeat booking made in cash without any luggage. The program is being rolled out in five of its properties, including the Hilton London at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and the Kingsway Hall Hotel in Covent Garden.
“Modern slavery is an urgent issue that affects thousands of people across the UK and as a hotelier we have the opportunity to lead the way in addressing this issue. By ensuring our staff and guests are aware of the risks, we can help to prevent modern slavery and ensure the safety and livelihoods of those who may be at risk,” said Rishi Sachdev, Director of Shiva Hotels.
A consumer-facing campaign coincides with the training program and aims to educate consumers about modern slavery and show solidarity with victims with the #IGiveHope slogan. The campaign details actions consumers can take to help prevent and raise awareness about the issue.
The effort builds on previous work by the Shiva Foundation to tackle human trafficking, including the establishment of the Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network in partnership with Hilton, WGC and Bespoke Hotels. The Network serves as a cross-industry platform providing companies with resources and tools to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking. With the announcement of Shiva Hotels’ new anti-slavery program, the Foundation launched a resource hub where companies can access new anti-trafficking tools, resources and materials.
“The safety and well-being of those involved in the hotel industry — employees, guests and all those involved in the supply chains — is paramount. The Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network will help ensure best practice in combatting modern slavery is shared and implemented across the board. The BHA is fully supportive and we will encourage its expansion among our members,” said Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association.
“The launch of the resource hub shows the effectiveness of collaboration and is a significant step up in trafficking prevention measures,” said Professor Alexandros Paraskevas of COMBAT. “It is a practical and useful step towards aiding businesses in identifying and preventing modern slavery where it occurs. All COMBAT resources will be made freely available via the hub and it is exciting to know they will be accessible for an even broader audience.”