New research from ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking), backed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Foundation, details laws in each state concerning the display of materials alerting people to ways to fight human trafficking.
"We know that the hospitality industry is eager to help fight human trafficking, but the many different state laws makes that complicated," said Michelle Guelbart, director of private-sector engagement at ECPAT-USA. "Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for every company in the hospitality industry to comply with the growing number of state laws by giving them one place to find out what is required in each state and to find the materials they need."
"Human trafficking is a serious, international issue, and our industry, along with others in the travel and tourism industries, have an important role to play in combating trafficking networks," said AHLEF president Rosanna Maietta. "On behalf of the hotel industry and our member companies, AHLEF is committed to working with engaged partners like ECPAT-USA to support and fund research that can bring us closer to ending these heinous crimes."
An increasing number of states now have laws that require lodging facilities to display signage calling attention to the problem of human trafficking and alerting the public to the indications of trafficking, as well as listing the hotline number to report suspicious activity and available services for victims. The different laws can present a confusing array of requirements to owners and operators of lodging facilities.
Similarly, many states have enacted legislation requiring lodging facilities to train their employees on the signs of human trafficking and what actions they should take in the event that such signs are observed. Other states do not mandate the training but have made it available on a public-agency website. Additional states are currently considering similar legislation.
To help clarify the rules and facilitate legal compliance, ECPAT-USA has delineated the situation in each state; the survey will be updated on a semi-annual basis to keep up with the constantly changing laws. Posters that comply with the various laws, as well as additional resources for hospitality brands, management companies and properties, are available on ECPAT-USA's website. For states that do not have a human-trafficking awareness signage requirement, ECPAT-USA's Standard Hotel Poster can be used. To access the report, click here.
• 13 states have laws mandating human-trafficking awareness signage in lodging facilities: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey (back-of-the-house signage), New York (information cards in rooms), North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia;
• 7 states have laws mandating human-trafficking awareness signage in lodging facilities that have been cited as a public nuisance: Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island;
• 12 states have voluntary human-trafficking awareness signage in lodging facilities: Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey (public-facing posters), New York (posting signage), Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin;
• 14 states have penalties for failing to meet the human-trafficking awareness signage mandates: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Carolina;
• 4 states have statutes mandating training regarding human trafficking for individuals working in the lodging industry: California, Connecticut, Minnesota and New Jersey; and
• 11 states have voluntary training laws for individuals working in the lodging industry: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont.
Various agency and municipal regulations also are in place, but were beyond the scope of this project. Interested parties should contact their local lodging and hotel association, chamber of commerce or governmental agencies familiar with regulations in local jurisdictions for more information.
The report, "Unpacking Human Trafficking: A Survey of State Laws Targeting Human Trafficking in the Hospitality Industry," and all necessary materials are available on the ECPAT-USA website.