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Marriott International has announced that it will launch an enhanced version of its human trafficking awareness training on July 30th, the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

The enhanced training is a step towards the company’s goal of having every employee on-property be able to recognize and respond to human trafficking by 2025.

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The hotel stated in its official press release that with the pandemic’s contactless check-ins and other mobile experiences, hotels can have a harder time identifying potential indicators of human trafficking.

The updated training, which was developed in collaboration with survivors of human trafficking, features scenario-based modules, increased guidance and a mobile-friendly design. The original training was launched in 2016 through a collaboration with ECPAT-USA’s Survivors’ Council and Polaris, which operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the U.S. It has since been taught to more than 850,000 employees within Marriott.

“As an industry that cares deeply about human rights and the horrible crime of human trafficking, we have a real responsibility to address this issue in a meaningful way,” said Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. “The updated training empowers a global workforce that stands ready to recognize and respond to human trafficking and allows our company to live up to our core values.”

Marriott will make the training widely accessible early next year to help non-Marriott hotels and other businesses within the hospitality industry.

“Training plays a critical role in prevention efforts, and we are extremely grateful for Marriott’s generosity to provide these innovative human trafficking awareness trainings for free to the industry in collaboration with ECPAT-USA and Polaris with the support of the AHLA Foundation,” said Chip Rogers, president & CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association. “We have already been able to train half a million hotel workers since the original training was launched for free in 2020, and these new trainings will continue to help us get closer to our goal of training every hotel employee.”

Marriott’s human trafficking training program is part of an overarching social impact and sustainability program, called Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction. It features goals such as advancing human rights and empowering the disadvantaged through employment opportunities. Combating human trafficking is also one of its 2025 Sustainability & Social Impact Goals.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report, in 2019 there were 118,932 victims of human trafficking identified throughout the world, but the reported numbers are likely much smaller than the reality. Hotels have a unique responsibility to identify potential sex trafficking, which can occur in hotels across the globe, including in the United States.

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