Orlando, Florida, January 2014-The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) has partnered with ECPAT-USA to develop a new online training program for hotel employees, “The Role of Hospitality in Preventing and Reacting to Child Trafficking.” The 30-minute course provides hotel staff and managers with the information they need to identify and respond to crimes of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). It explains the risks trafficking can pose to properties, provides a list of signs and behaviors that may indicate child trafficking, and offers steps to respond to the situation in ways that minimize risk. The training incorporates audio and video clips, interactive knowledge checks and a 10-question quiz, leading to a certificate of completion.

“Child trafficking is an ugly reality, but one which hospitality and tourism professionals must recognize and respond to,” said Robert L. Steele III, CHA, president and COO of the Educational Institute. “This online course presents the facts about child trafficking in a format that makes it easy for every employee to learn what to look for and how to react appropriately. This knowledge is essential for all who work in our industry today.”

Hotel managers and staff throughout a property need to be alert to the signs of potential child trafficking and know how to respond in ways that will keep victims, guests, and the property safe. Front desk, housekeeping, security, and even restaurant servers may be in a position to witness suspicious behaviors that indicate illegal trafficking activity, while managers must know how to appropriately respond to the situation.

ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) provided content from its on-site training programs to develop this online course that will enable their message to have a broader reach throughout the hospitality industry. In conjunction with the training, ECPAT-USA encourages hospitality organizations to sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct, an internationally-accepted, voluntary set of guidelines that travel and tourism companies can implement to prevent child sex tourism and trafficking of children. A link to The Code is included within the online training program.

“Everyone at ECPAT-USA is grateful to the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute for its support in developing this training program and to the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation for providing grant funding to make it a reality. Partnering with the leader in hospitality training and education has been a great experience,” said Carol Smolenski, executive director of ECPAT-USA. “Once properties start taking the training I am confident there will be a tremendous increase in the level of protection for children who are at risk for sexual exploitation. That’s what we all want to achieve. “

To preview “The Role of Hospitality in Preventing and Reaction to Child Trafficking,” visit https://www.ahlei.org/demos/ecpat/index.html. The program is available for individual purchase on EI’s website at www.ahlei.org. For information about licensing to train large groups, please contact an EI sales manager at 1.800.349.0299 or +1.407.999.8100.