Human trafficking is a devastating and dehumanizing act. Because human trafficking is so detrimental to society, it calls forth the need for more awareness and prevention. 9 News recently released an article  that addressed efforts by local nonprofits and the Safe Action Project, in bringing awareness to hotels about human trafficking, sex trafficking in particular. Mile High Women’s Outreach organized the event to educate hotel and hospitality staff on indicators of potential trafficking as well as ways to report suspicious behavior. Attached to the article are documents developed by the Safe Action Project that outline warning signs for various positions within the hotel and hospitality industry.

        The SAFE Action Project documents highlight behaviors and scenarios commonly linked with sex trafficking. The 9news article also included a document from the BLUE Campaign which provides information about Human Trafficking more broadly, providing information on indicators of potential coerced labor situations. While labor trafficking doesn’t immediately grab the headlines like sex trafficking, it affects a wider range of people and can be harder to detect. Furthermore, many instances of trafficking include various kinds of human rights abuses related to both sex and labor trafficking. According to the Huffington Post, human trafficking is fundamentally about, “people working in a climate of fear, not free to leave exploitative and dangerous working environments.” The article notes various elements of coercion which lead to a person being trafficked including threats of force, fraud, and physical/sexual assault among other things. 

        Although the documents provided by SAFE Action Project inform employees in the hotel industry to be aware of sex trafficking, they neglected other potential instances of human trafficking. For instance, hotel workers may themselves be human trafficking victims. As such, it would behoove us to be aware of human trafficking warning signs in any work environment. The media commonly focuses primarily on young women who could be sexually exploited, human trafficking is actually a much more pervasive problem that should be thought about more holistically as a problem that can impact people of all backgrounds. Just like sexual assault, education and social awareness are necessary to prevent and inform a discourse on the issue of human trafficking. 

Author: Stacey McClellan