By Alisonp on May 24, 2012
Quaker Peace & Social Witness has joined an international coalition to raise awareness of the risk of human trafficking during London 2012. The coalition includes The Institute for Human Rights and Business, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility and over 25 religious investment bodies. In March it wrote to over 30 Olympic sponsors and hotel chains with operations near Olympic venues to find out what action they were taking to prevent human trafficking.
It is particularly important that the hotel industry takes action in this respect. Hotels are increasingly reliant on migrant workers – often supplied by employment agencies – to do jobs such as room cleaning and kitchen work. Limited language skills and a lack of awareness of employment rights can mean they are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. There is also a risk that hotels could inadvertently find their facilities being used by the sex-trafficking ‘industry’. In recent years there have been several reported incidents where victims of sex trafficking have been hidden in or forced to meet ‘clients’ at hotels.
There are fears that the extra visitors to London and other Olympic cities during the games could exacerbate both of these problems. As such, the coalition is seeking assurance that hotels are taking steps to respond to the risks. Some hotel chains like the Accor group have already developed anti-trafficking policies augmented by training programmes designed to enable staff to identify and respond to any instances of trafficking that they might come across. If the London Olympics are to be exploitation free it is vital that others follow in their wake.
For more information see: www.eccr.org.uk