New Toolkit For Tackling Slavery In The Hospitality Sector Gets European Launch

unilondonA new guide for helping hotels reduce the risk of modern slavery taking place on their properties has been launched internationally by the University of West London (UWL).

Co-author Professor Angela Roper unveiled the practical toolkit for combating human trafficking at a meeting of the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions and also the European Hotel Federation, in Brussels, on Friday (7 December).

It is estimated there are 32,000 trafficking victims in the UK and 1.14 million in Europe, but the true figure could be far higher. Research suggests the true scale of the problem is vast, with potentially 21 million people worldwide the victims of human exploitation and forced labour.

This matters because the hospitality industry is vulnerable to falling victim to incidences of human trafficking involving guests and staff, which happen in plain sight but are invisible if the warning signs are not spotted. Importantly, the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires companies with global turnover of more than £36m operating in the UK to take action to ensure their operations and supply chain are slavery-free.

But despite this legal requirement, there are very few resources for hospitality sector businesses to educate staff and put in place measures which reduce risk.

‘COMBAT Trafficking in human beings in the hotel industry,’ is the solution for hotels seeking to minimise the risk of human trafficking on their premises. It comprises a raft of practical measures for hotels to minimise the risk of human trafficking. It includes seven case studies from human trafficking victims, who lift the lid on the shocking exploitation they suffered.

COMBAT is the result of two years of research by the UWL and three partners; Oxford Brookes University, the Lapland University of Applied Sciences in Finland and the Ratiu Centre for Democracy, with funding by the European Commission’s Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme.

Report co-author, Professor Alexandros Paraskevas, Chair of Hospitality Management at UWL’s London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism, said: ‘We hope the COMBAT Project will help to eradicate the scourge of modern slavery, which the hospitality and tourism industry is determined to tackle. COMBAT is an important resource for hotels to reduce their exposure to the risk of human trafficking. This is a significant and ongoing issue and more research is needed if our ambition to stop human trafficking is to succeed.’

The toolkit includes reference guides and training material for hotel executive management teams, senior management teams and members of staff. Training for hotels on how implement the toolkit are available by Prof Roper and Prof Paraskevas. For more information on COMBAT training for businesses, contact Alexandros.Paraskevas@uwl.ac.uk or Angela.Roper@uwl.ac.uk.