Recent estimates show that thousands of individuals are trafficked for either sexual or labor exploitation in Texas each year. These traffickers and their networks often rely on legitimate businesses to sustain their operations and infrastructure. Hotels are one of the many different venues that traffickers use to exploit their victims. This criminal activity presents a great risk to the safety and security of hotel businesses, as well as legitimate customers. The hotel industry must continue to raise awareness of human trafficking and train hotel workers to the vital role that they can play in assisting victims
NEW CITY OF HOUSTON ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS REQUIREMENTS
The City of Houston now requires all hotels and motels to train their employees on human trafficking awareness. Houston is the first major American city to have adopted an anti-trafficking ordinance. The new ordinance requires hotels on an annual basis to:
Annually train all employees on how to recognize the signs of both sex and labor trafficking as well as how to report any concerns:
- All employees must be trained within 30 days of hire and on an annual basis
- A list of approved training courses is available at City of Houston Permitting
- If your brand or company already has a training program but it is not on the approved list, the program must be submitted to the City for approval to satisfy the ordinance and ensure all employees to receive credit for that training. Submissions for human trafficking training should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The approval process may take time and we encourage you to submit your program as soon as possible. All online training must include a pacing mechanism.
- Should you not have an approved training, the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association and the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston have entered into a partnership with BEST to allow free access to online human trafficking training for all THLA/HLAGH members and their staff.
Certify that the training was conducted to the city’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs department on an annual basis:
- Certifications must be filed no later than March 31st of each year with the first filing will be due on March 31, 2021.
- The submission form is available at City of Houston permitting
Post city-mandated 11×17” signs with trafficking indicators and phone numbers for employees to report tips to local law enforcement and national human trafficking hotline:
- The signage must be posted where employees congregate and clearly visible to associates, such as breakrooms, offices, kitchen / laundry / housekeeping areas.
- Signs shall be posted in English, Spanish, and any other language that is spoken by 10% of the hotel’s employees. A separate sign shall be posted for each required language.
- Complimentary downloadable signs will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Urdu and Gujarati at https://www.houstonpermittingcenter.org/human-trafficking-prevention .
- Should you need signs in other languages, please send an email request to email@example.com. Please allow a minimum of 2 weeks for translation.
The ordinance prohibits retaliation against employees that report tips:
- Establish a policy that prohibits retaliation against employees who report tips on human trafficking
Hotels are one of the many different venues that traffickers use to exploit their victims. This criminal activity presents a great risk to the safety and security of the hotel business as well as legitimate customers. The hotel industry must continue to raise awareness of human trafficking and train hotel workers to the vital role they can play in assisting victims. Should you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact the HLAGH offices at 713-853-8958.
LEARN TO RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS
The U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline found hotels / motels to be a common venue for sex trafficking. It is extremely important that team members are educated on the signs of such activity. Below are some of the suggested tools to combat human trafficking:
- Train all team members to recognize the signs of human trafficking. Training resources available at:
- Web Based Training thru Best Alliance – Complimentary for all THLA/HLAGH members. COMPLIMENTARY TRAINING
- Contact your corporate office or franchise
- City of Houston Training Program – please contact HLAGH staff to assist with arrangements
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission – please contact HLAGH staff to assist with arrangements
- Establish a goal to provide training to all employees within 30 days of hire
- Post signage with human trafficking indicators and phone numbers to report tips.
- Display Human Trafficking Awareness Posters
- Use Hospitality Toolkit
- Implement a “no retaliation” company policy toward employees who report human trafficking
- Review infographic to learn more about human trafficking.
- Know the indicators of human trafficking.
- Hand out the Human Trafficking Indicators Card and Key Tag Cards to your employees
- Utilize the TraffickCam App to help police locate hotel rooms used for sex trafficking
- Join the DHS’s Blue Campaign on Facebook
- Check out additional resources on the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign website and the City of Houston’s Human Trafficking website
- Learn more about Houston’s efforts to combat human trafficking
- Create a non-retaliation policy that protects employees that report tips
- The Attorney General of Texas offers via web based as well as DVDs general training on recognizing human trafficking
- Learn More About Human Trafficking thru these resources:
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center Website
- Polaris Project Website
- Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Website
- U.S. Department of Labor – Child Labor and Forced Labor Website
- U.S. Department of State – Trafficking in Persons Report
- Texas Attorney General’s Office Crime Victims’ Compensation Website
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
- Do not at any time attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to your suspicions. Your safety as well as the victim’s safety is paramount.
- For emergency situations, contact local law enforcement at 9-1-1, particularly those situations involving threats of imminent violence, physical assault, emergency medical needs, etc.
- Follow your corporate protocol, such as by notifying management and security. Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) to report suspicious criminal activity to federal law enforcement.
- Get help (available 24 hour a day) from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/libraryHotline: 1-888-373-7888 or Houston Police Department: 713-308-8600