Tackling Modern Slavery in Hotels

Tackling Modern Slavery in Hotels
Tackling Modern Slavery in Hotels

Globally, 40.3 million people are estimated to be living in slavery. In the UK, there are an estimated 13,000 people living in exploitative conditions. With more than 1 in 10 people working in hospitality around the world, the sector has the opportunity to take a strong stand on modern slavery.

There is a lack of precise data about the prevalence of slavery in the sector, however, according to a recent study, there are more than 1.1 million victims of modern slavery in the European hospitality sector annually – over 4,500 are in forced labour in hotels.

The Shiva Foundation is a corporate London-based foundation founded by the Shiva Hotels group and works closely with the hotel industry in the UK to create a dynamic model to tackle and prevent human trafficking and modern slavery across the sector by facilitating a more collaborative, systemic approach to making change. The hotel industry faces a large risk of modern slavery:

– Hotels frequently rely on labour providers to employ outsourced housekeeping and cleaning staff

– The layered structure of hotels combined with multi-tier recruitment systems can mean that unscrupulous practices are difficult to detect

– Hotels can become unwitting hosts to sexual exploitation because of the privacy they offer

– Goods and services purchased by hotels can represent hidden risks because of complex and multi-tiered supply chains

– The industry, which involves a large amount of franchising, is multi-layered and complex with various businesses being involved in operations and supply chains

Through their work, the Shiva Foundation is trying to address all risk areas and industry nuances to ensure that hoteliers can become leaders in tackling modern slavery. To facilitate this, they produced the following tools:

– Stop Slavery Blueprint: On March 9, 2018, Shiva Foundation launched the Stop Slavery Blueprint which is a toolkit to be used by hotels and other industry organisations to set up their own anti-trafficking initiatives. It was initially trialled in a group of hotels, with its implementation coordinated and supported by the foundation. The Blueprint sets out key principles, guidance, and recommendations for the hotel industry in the form of policies, practices, procedures, protocols and a checklist of suggested actions. It is intended for internal use of hotels and other stakeholders in the industry and is meant to be used in conjunction with the Stop Slavery General Manager Handbook which provides practical guidance and materials to support implementing hotels.

– Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network: Since February 2017, Shiva Foundation has been coordinating the Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network, which brings together brands, boutique hotels, hotel owners and hotel management companies to foster collective action in tackling modern slavery as an industry. The Network grew out of an initial round table meeting in November 2016 and was officially launched at the Thomson Reuters Foundation Trust Conference.

Over the course of a year, the Network has launched the following tools to support hoteliers in their anti-slavery efforts: a resource hub, which provides industry members, as well as the wider business community, with access to a range of relevant anti-trafficking materials and resources, all created by reputable organisations or governments; and the Framework for Working with Suppliers, which is a tool meant for various levels of management within the industry. It was developed as a result of the outcomes from Network meeting discussions, in line with existing advice and guidance on addressing supply chain transparency and engaging with suppliers in business. The focus on working with suppliers derived from the Network’s view of what specific complex challenge required collective action for the benefit of the wider industry

Based on learnings over the past two years, the Shiva Foundation also launched a report, ‘Charting a Course for Collective Action: Addressing Slavery in the Hotel Industry‘. The report offers insight into experience gained from the coordination of the Stop Slavery Hotel Industry Network and sets out recommendations for immediate and coordinated action to address modern slavery in the hospitality sector. In addition to their experience coordinating the Network, they pulled information from the industry through a wider consultation backed by the British Hospitality Association. The Shiva Foundation aims to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure these recommendations become action.

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