Florida has the third highest rate of human trafficking in the nation, with every county in the state experiencing documented cases. There is always a question about what the community can do to help and reaching out to industries that may not have been included in the conversation is important. In that, Tallahassee has realized that staff of the hotel industry can be a strong, highly effective first line of defense for recognition and reporting of this horrific crime.
In recent years, the hospitality industry has supported the efforts to bring crimes such as human trafficking to the forefront. The travel industry strives to support and respect the protection of human rights within the industry with many hotels such as the Carlson company, the Radisson and Marriott to name a few, being among the ones putting time and attention toward the issue. The crime of labor and sex trafficking is rampant in the travel industry because of its very nature, movement and lots of it. Without attention to the details that may show red flags, rescuing someone from this plight may prove difficult. The hotel industry continues to focus on standing up against exploitation and realize that it takes more than just one business to combat this epidemic. Each year, over a million children are trafficked worldwide through labor or sex trafficking, and many adults in the same predicament feel as though they are not worthy of rescue.
Hotels are now outwardly expressing their support of and commitment to human rights locally and internationally and are integrating this commitment into policies and protocols. There are now training programs for new employees and refresher training for current employees that speak to the commitment of the company and the need for that same commitment from the employees. Training focuses on raising awareness about human trafficking, recognizing red flags, and efforts regarding prevention and what to do when it comes to reporting. It also focuses on building and strengthening relationships with task forces and coalitions in the area to partner with the industry if there is an identified victim. All in all, it creates a safe environment and demonstrates responsible business practices.
This year, in recognition of the resolution given to the Salvation Army honoring Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Tallahassee, the Salvation Army is yet again eager to bring another awareness and prevention event to the Big Bend Area. Please join the Salvation Army in the fight against human trafficking by participating in a special campaign, aimed at providing Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention materials to local hotels on Friday, March 11, 2016. The awareness training for this campaign will be held on Friday, February 26, 2016 from 9am-12pm at the office of The Salvation Army. This training will provide our volunteers with the tools needed to effectively volunteer during the March 11th Call to Action, including what human trafficking is, how to approach the topic with the local hotel industry, and allow them to become familiar with the educational materials prepared for the hotels.
To register, please contact Julie Smith at (850) 222-0304. The Salvation Army is located at 2410 Allen Road Tallahassee, FL 32312.