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Hotels drag their heels on human trafficking

October 2010

Hotel multinationals have been attacked over their performance on human trafficking by a faith-based investment adviser.

Having analysed a survey asking hotel chains about child protection policies, staff training and other work to combat human trafficking, the US-based Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) concluded that only Accor and Carlson are responding adequately.

The survey, which was sent to Accor, Carlson, Best Western, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, NH Hotels and Starwood, was part of a letter signed by 300 investors and non-governmental organizations. CBIS says that ‘while not responsible for this crime, the lodging industry is well positioned to help by taking action to stop the use of hotels for these purposes’.

The results show the industry on the whole still shows a lack of staff training, little inclination to sign up to standards and a reluctance to report on the issue.

The sector performed worst on child protection. Most of the chains lacked a human rights policy, including child protection principles, and only Accor provided specific information on the implementation of such policies.

Just three of the eight chains have adopted a sectoral code of conduct against child sex tourism, known as The Code, and only three – Carlson, InterContinental and NH – have signed up to the United Nations Global Compact.

By far the worst firms were Best Western and Hilton, neither of which have signed The Code, use the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines on sustainability reporting, or are signatories to the Global Compact.

Hilton recently pledged to unveil a code of conduct for staff on trafficking and prostitution (EP12, issue 4, p5). Best Western claims to take ‘good corporate citizenship seriously’.

Accor, which owns Sofitel and Motel6, and Carlson, whose brands include Country Inn and the Rezidor Hotel Group in South Africa, performed well in most areas, and were praised by CBIS particularly for their programmes on child sexual exploitation.

CBIS recommends laggard companies sign up to The Code immediately and begin to improve on and disclose their trafficking policies as a priority.




Christian Brothers Investment Services | Global | Human rights

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