Before last year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation made 169 arrests related to human trafficking, and it made more than 110 arrests in 2018 before the game in Minneapolis. This year’s game will be held at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Feb. 2, and to prepare for the potential increase of traffickers and their victims, the local hospitality community and others on Jan. 9 met for a half-day summit to raise awareness and share anti-trafficking strategies at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association in partnership with the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association convened the event, which highlighted partnerships with law enforcement and tools that have been effectively implemented to reduce the number of incidents of trafficking in hotels.
As part of the summit, the audience viewed a “35-minute snapshot of FRLA’s human trafficking training session,” and “people were amazed by what they learned,” FRLA president and CEO Carol Dover said. “Training is critical. Florida is one of the first states to mandate that public lodging employees are trained.” That mandate, signed into law last summer, takes effect in January 2021, but “we will be close to 100 percent trained by the time it goes into effect,” she said.
Dover estimated attendance at more than 250 for the event, helwhich included Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, members from the National Football League, the FBI and the launch of anti-trafficking organization It’s A Penalty’s pre-Super Bowl campaign. She added that representatives from all major hotel brands that are members of FRLA attended, and InterContinental Hotels Group regional VP John Kelley spoke.
“We believe it is critical to convene our entire industry around a united approach to combat human trafficking and built partnerships with law enforcement officers and leaders in the prevention space, such as Attorney General Ashley Moody and leading prevention partners like It’s A Penalty and A21,” another anti-trafficking organization, said AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers. AHLA launched its No Room for Trafficking campaign in mid-2019.
January is Human Trafficking Month, and this is It’s A Penalty’s third pre-Super Bowl campaign. Human trafficking, a $150 billion industry, is inextricably linked to the hospitality industry, from airlines to hotels and from one-star to five-star properties. Alleged victims in multiple states have filed lawsuits against major hotel companies claiming they facilitated and profited from trafficking.
In addition to the national human trafficking hotline, 888-373-7888, the local campaign has a complementary hotline: 305-FIX-STOP, or 305-349-7867.
FRLA’s Dover said she’s already making plans for next year’s Super Bowl.
“We’re doing it again next year [for Tampa], since we have the Super Bowl,” she said,” and we know we can do some things differently and better.”
This content was originally published here.