January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and Jan. 11 is recognized as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. In connection with the designations, ECPAT-USA, an organization seeking to end the commercial and sexual exploitation of children, released an update of its Unpacking Human Trafficking report, first released in May 2019, that highlights progress on that initiative related to the U.S. lodging industry.
The report details trafficking laws in all 50 states, including those that have required lodging facilities to display signage calling attention to the problem of human trafficking and those that have enacted legislation mandating training on the issue for hospitality workers. Additionally, some states have enacted laws addressing the criminal and civil liability of lodging facilities for incidents of human trafficking that occur on their properties.
Since the May 2019 release, two additional states—Florida and Illinois—now mandate signage in lodging facilities without exception, bringing the total to 11, including California, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, South Carolina and West Virginia. Five states mandate signage, but with caveats, such as only for those facilities that hold a liquor license, up from four in 2019.
Florida and Illinois also added mandatory human-trafficking-awareness training for certain lodging employees. They join California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Minnesota from the May 2019 report.
The current report includes research completed in October 2020 and is available for download on the ECPAT-USA website. The American Hotel & Lodging Association Foundation provided funding.