I came across an interesting story that Time ran, about sex trafficking in hotels. I’ve seen hookers in hotels before, casually hanging out in the lobby until a security guard walks through, or striking up a conversation with a guest near a bank of elevators. I’m not so sure about sex trafficking though.
Some hotels train their front desk employees on warning signs to look out for during check in –
Sex trafficking is not limited to no-tell motels, and can be found in 4 and 5 star hotels too. Housekeepers in hotels have red flags to look out for –
But what about guests? What can they do?
According to the article, it is rare for victims to be brought by the front desk during check-in. More likely is that the traffickers use two rooms, one looking like that of a regular guest, the other where the children are smuggled into. Rooms being used by traffickers have lots of men coming and going with lots of congregating outside the door, lobby, or in the parking lot. The advice given is to let a hotel employee know if you see anything like that.
I do this already since I get annoyed when people hang out in the halls, often speaking loudly as if there were no other guests around. If it is late at night and I’m trying to sleep, I’m not opposed to calling down to reception to let them know. I doubt the congregations have been the sort indicating sex trafficking though, more likely just guys having enjoyed some drinks and a fun evening without realizing (or caring) about nearby guests.
Here are some more tips from the article –
An interactive map from the Polaris Project shows all of the local agencies worldwide that are working to put a stop to slavery of all kinds. Clicking on one of the numbers zooms in to show the map on a scale where each individual location is.
If in the United States, you can also call 1-888-373-7888, the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The best course of action is usually to call the hotel front desk first though, and it isn’t recommended to confront the trafficker yourself.
It’s a tragedy that this form of slavery still exists, and every now and then a story hits the headlines about a sex trafficker getting caught because someone got suspicious, like this article from the Derby Telegraph that the Times story linked to.
Many hotel companies have also signed on to the ECPAT Code of Conduct, which is aimed at bringing awareness to the sexual exploitation of children. Scrolling through the hotel chains that have signed I found Accor, Hilton, Carlson Rezidor and Virgin Holidays along with hundreds of smaller companies.