The PCMA Heartland Chapter’s State of the Industry Address on November 14 discussed the epidemic of human trafficking, which is problematic throughout world and specifically in the hospitality industry. Laura Pilkenton, Director of Guest Services and Employee Business Travel with Martiz Travel and Co- Chair of the Martiz Global Events Human Trafficking Awareness Steering Committee, served as the moderator and highlighted the extensive research that Martiz has done for the industry. Brian Johnson, Managing Director of the new Loews Kansas City Hotel, and Craig Tremaroli, Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Forces and Civil Rights Program, were the panelists who shared a wealth of information from the hotel and law enforcement perspectives. Attendees learned what to look for and how to help stop this epidemic as they travel and conduct meetings and events all across the world.
Here are some resources FBI Special Agent Tremaroli shared to strengthen education and awareness of human trafficking:
Here are some advocacy groups that FBI Special Agent Tremaroli shared that are helping with the fight against human trafficking:
https://epikproject.org/ – The Epik Project is a highly trained and sophisticated neighborhood watch program that provides law enforcement with specific information related to the illegal activity of prostitution to assist them in their efforts to also combat sex trafficking.
https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign – Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign, designed to educate the public, law enforcement, and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases.
https://polarisproject.org/ – Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery and systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their
freedom. Their comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what they do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.
Here are some everyday tools that FBI Special Agent Tremaroli shared that everyone can utilize while traveling:
https://humantraffickinghotline.org/ – The National Human Trafficking Hotline connects victims and survivors of sex and labor trafficking with services and supports to get help and stay safe. They also receive tips about potential situations of sex and labor trafficking and facilitates reporting that information to the appropriate authorities in certain cases. The toll-free phone (1-888-373-7888) and SMS text (233733) lines and live online chat function are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
https://traffickcam.com/ – The TraffickCam app enables individuals to help combat sex trafficking by uploading photos of hotel rooms directly from their cell phones when traveling. The purpose of TraffickCam is to create a database of hotel room images that an investigator can efficiently search, in order to find other images that were taken in the same location as an image that is part of an investigation.
Human trafficking is a very real epidemic but can be eradicated if everyone does their part. Here are four easy steps to get started today:
1. Educate yourself and your organizations on the dangers of human trafficking.
2. Be aware of and on the lookout for potential human trafficking indicators while you travel.
3. Download the TraffickCam app on your cell phone and upload photos of your hotel rooms every time you travel.
4. Call/Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888 or 233733) to report any human trafficking indicators.