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Tackling modern slavery in the hotel sector

There are an estimated 110,000 victims of modern slavery in the European hospitality sector annually. In the UK, the industry has been recognised one of high-risk regarding modern slavery. With more than one in 10 people working in hospitality around the world, the sector has the opportunity to take a strong stand on modern slavery.

Shiva Foundation has been working over the past two years to draft, trial and launch a toolkit to address to address risk of modern slavery in the industry: the Stop Slavery Blueprint. The free and online toolkit, which includes guidance, templates and training, provides practical measure to address some of the main risk areas regarding modern slavery in the industry. This toolkit benefits from a wide range of insights from across the sector and learning from practical implementation.

What are the risk areas?

The hotel industry faces particular risk of modern slavery:

●     Hotels frequently rely on labour suppliers to employ outsourced housekeeping and cleaning staff. The layered structure of hotels combined with multi-tier recruitment systems can mean that unscrupulous practices are difficult to detect.

●     Hotels can become unwitting hosts to sexual exploitation because of the privacy they offer.

●     Goods and services purchased by hotels can represent hidden risk because of complex and multi-tiered supply chains.

Additionally, the industry, which involves a large amount of franchising, is multi-layered and complex with various businesses being involved in operations and supply chains. Through our work, we are trying to address all of the risk areas and industry nuances to ensure that hoteliers can become leaders in tackling modern slavery.

What is being done?

The Blueprint provides practical tools to address some of the main risk areas regarding modern slavery in the hotel sector, including facilities, employment practices and supply chains. It covers supplier engagement, signs to spot, and reporting protocols and is based on learnings over the past two years working closely with a range of key stakeholders within the hotel industry and the anti-trafficking space. The Blueprint was first piloted in Shiva Hotels, a hotel group who founded Shiva Foundation. All Shiva Hotels properties have subsequently embedded the Blueprint. Since its implementation, a number of incidents have been reported and swiftly dealt with through collaboration with the police and internal contacts.

In addition to developing the Blueprint, Shiva Foundation coordinates the Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network, which is made up of key representatives across the hotel industry to combat modern slavery within the sector. The Network launched a resource hub to provide industry members with access to a range of relevant anti-trafficking materials, and produced a Framework for Working with Suppliers to help hoteliers work with their labour and goods suppliers to address this issue.

 

By Sian Lea, Senior Programme Manager at Shiva Foundation

For more information about the Blueprint or Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network, please contact Sian at sian@shivafoundation.org.uk.

 

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