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Employers have critical role in stopping human trafficking


A Holiday Inn Express in Surrey, B.C. Hotels are often on the front lines of human trafficking, particularly prostitution. Photo: Google Streetview

Human trafficking is a major issue in Canada, and employers have a critical role in stopping it.

Talent Canada recently posted a story about a call from law enforcement officials in Florida who are asking workers — particularly in the hospitality industry — to be alert.

This year, the Super Bowl is being held in Miami and major events like this tend to be magnets for criminals who traffic people, particularly young women forced into sex work.

But the problem isn’t just limited to major sporting events. Professional conferences also tend to attract traffickers and there is a market in just about any  city, thanks to the Internet and the ease of posting ads online.

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Spotting the problem

 Hotels are on the front line of this battleground, and are in one of the best positions to stop it. Many traffickers use hotel rooms and there are some obvious warning signs to look out for, including:

  • Men coming and going to one room without checking in, typically staying for anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour
  • Excessive requests for towels
  • Cash payments for the room
  • A room where a young women checks in but never leaves

Ride-sharing companies can also spot unusual behaviour — experts suggest drivers listen for unusual conversations or behaviours in their vehicles.

If you spot a problem

If you suspect something is wrong, call the police. They can do a wellness check.

But there are other resources you can turn to for help, such as the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline. It’s a confidential service that connects “victims and survivors with local emergency, transition and/or long-term supports and services across the country, as well as connecting callers to law enforcement where appropriate,” according to its website.

You can also submit a tip through the website — www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca — or by calling 1-833-900-1010. All tips are confidential.


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