BETHESDA, MD - Marriott International announced that on July 30th, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the company launched an updated version of its human trafficking awareness training – the next step in Marriott’s goal to train all of its on-property associates to recognize and respond to potential indicators of human trafficking at hotels by 2025.
The world has changed significantly in the five years since the company launched the initial training. COVID-19 has ushered in more contactless and mobile hotel experiences, which can make it more difficult to spot potential indicators of trafficking. The new training builds upon the original training’s foundation by featuring scenario-based modules, a mobile-friendly design, and increased guidance on how to respond to potential situations of human trafficking – critical enhancements based on hotel-level feedback to help associates turn awareness into action and continue the fight against the multinational crime. Additionally, the new training was developed in collaboration with survivors of human trafficking, ensuring the training is victim-centered and the resources are survivor-informed.
“As an industry that cares deeply about human rights and the horrible crime of human trafficking, we have a real responsibility to address this issue in a meaningful way,” said Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International. “The updated training empowers a global workforce that stands ready to recognize and respond to human trafficking and allows our company to live up to our core values.”
Through a collaboration with ECPAT-USA and with input from Polaris, two leading non-profits that specialize in combatting human trafficking, Marriott launched its original human trafficking awareness training in 2016 and made it mandatory for all on-property staff in both managed and franchised properties globally in January 2017. So far, the training has been delivered to more than 850,000 associates, which has helped identify instances of human trafficking, protect associates and guests, and support victims and survivors.
As the company did with its original training, Marriott plans to donate this training and work with ECPAT-USA and the American Hotel and Lodging Association Foundation to make it widely available in early 2022 to help educate the entire hospitality industry.
"Marriott International has been a crucial ally in ECPAT-USA’s child protection work for years, including developing critical training that gives hotel associates the tools and resources to be able to identify and respond to human trafficking,“ said Lori L. Cohen, CEO of ECPAT-USA. “Half a million hotel associates [from other companies] have already completed the existing e-learning program since we made it available in 2020, and the new information and innovative features of this updated training will facilitate an even greater impact. Awareness of and training on these issues are essential for members of the hotel and hospitality industry, and we are so grateful to leaders in the private sector like Marriott for their long-term collaboration on this issue."
“Training plays a critical role in prevention efforts, and we are extremely grateful for Marriott’s generosity to provide these innovative human trafficking awareness trainings for free to the industry in collaboration with ECPAT-USA and Polaris with the support of the AHLA Foundation,” said Chip Rogers, president & CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association. “We have already been able to train half a million hotel workers since the original training was launched for free in 2020, and these new trainings will continue to help us get closer to our goal of training every hotel employee.”
For its updated training, Marriott collaborated with Polaris, which operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the United States, to develop storyboards, select scenarios based on calls to the Hotline, and prioritize the wellbeing of potential victims. Marriott also worked with survivor consultants and ECPAT-USA’s Survivors’ Council to incorporate meaningful input from survivors throughout the training development.
“Polaris is proud to join with Marriott International and a team of survivors to create this crucial resource. This training goes beyond general awareness of signs to equip hotel workers with the tools to respond to trafficking situations in ways that are appropriate, nuanced, helpful, and most importantly, survivor-centered. By designing interactive scenario-based exercises and updating guidance for managerial staff around how to interact with potential victims and survivors of human trafficking, our hope is that this training enables hotel workers to become a valuable resource for trafficking victims around the world,” said Catherine Chen, CEO of Polaris.
Marriott’s anti-trafficking efforts are part of its broader sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, which guides the company’s commitment to making a positive and sustainable impact wherever it does business. One of the core pillars of the platform, Welcome All and Advance Human Rights, focuses on upholding and respecting human rights. As part of our 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals, we aim to amplify our training efforts, embed and enhance human rights criteria in recruitment and sourcing policies, and collaborate with the industry to address human rights risks.