The Sweet Christian Bride

Hotels in the Fight against Human Trafficking

by admin on September 2, 2011 in Slavery-free, Venue with No Comments

When I visited the bars in Bangkok to learn about Home of New Beginning’s ministry to women in the sex industry, I was rudely awakened to the volume of women who make their living through sex.  Most of these women are sold, coerced, threatened, or manipulated into these jobs and have an extremely difficult time getting out of the industry.

What was even more difficult for me to stomach, however, was the invisible oozing of this tragic industry out of the seedy bars and into the high class travel institutions.  I was told by a reliable source that a majority of hotel, spa, or bar employees is “buyable” for customers who are willing to pay.

For me and all other non-assuming tourists in the area, what this means is that we cannot readily extricate ourselves from the network of slavery and prostitution that is happening in Bangkok and in other hotbed cities around the world.  The network is invisible and spans the lines of the “expected” areas into the unexpected.  We can no longer protest by boycotting, for if we are tourists in a hotbed city, we are bound to inadvertently trip a wire of the trafficking network.  That is terrifying!

We need hotels and other travel institutions to step up against their odds and shine a light on these trip wires.  They need to educate their employees, business partners, and customers about what trafficking is, how to spot it, and how to address it using the law.  Hotels need to be a prime figure in this battle against human slavery, but often times they aren’t because their revenue and reputations would be drastically curtailed against the common culture of their region and industry.

There are a few, however, who are actively fighting the visible and invisible industry of sex slavery.  For those few hotels who are standing against human trafficking in their facilities, we can support them and take refuge in their due diligence by booking our stays with them and not with other “good deals” in the area.  Wyndham is one of the few hotel chains that has recently signed the code to stand as an institution that will educate against human-trafficking. Carlson is a veteran signer of the code, and according to Hotel News Now, Hilton Worldwide is a third signer.

The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism is an effort, originally by ECPAT and now by UNICEF, for common ethical standing on the issues of protecting children from being used for the purposes of sex.  Signers agree to educate their employees, customers, and business associates on trafficking awareness and protocol, as well as to report incidents annually.

This is a significant start towards efforts against a colossal problem!

As tourists or customers, whether on your honeymoon, at your wedding location, or on any other travel, you can be conscientious consumers.  Book your hotel with businesses who are making legitimate strides against human trafficking in their facilities.  By executing your wedding planning within a circle of vendors who do not use or promote slavery, you are taking an active stance in the war against modern-day slavery simply by planning your wedding.  How cool is that to be part of the solution even in a busy season of life!

By Lindsay

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