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Program combats human trafficking

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HumanTrafficking Stock

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – Studies have shown that along with sporting events, theme parks, cruise ships, and other tourist attractions, human traffickers often take advantage of the privacy accessible through the hospitality industry.

The Family Crisis Center of East Texas spent an afternoon in November handing out human trafficking awareness posters and flyers to local commercial lodging establishments. The goal of the outreach program is not only to spread awareness but also to facilitate compliance with House Bill 390. The bill requires that hotels, motels, inns, and small lodging establishments of ten or more rooms complete annual employee awareness and prevention training. The training must be at least 20 minutes long and approved by the attorney general. Records must be maintained that prove employees have undergone the training.

The bill also allows the imposition of a fine on establishments that do not comply and prevents those businesses from discriminating against employees who make a good-faith attempt to report suspected human trafficking. Operators of lodging facilities are required to display a sign that provides notice of employee training, information about human trafficking, and provide contact information for reporting suspected trafficking.

Posters have been created to inform and educate hospitality employees and give tips on human trafficking warning signs. They include awareness of individuals who:

• Show signs of malnourishment, poor hygiene, fatigue, sleep deprivation, untreated illness, injuries and/or unusual behavior

Dress inappropriately for their age or have lower quality clothing compared to others in their party

Request additional housekeeping services but deny hotel/motel staff entry into the room

Have multiple computers, cell phones, pagers, credit card swipers, or other technology

Extend their stay with few or no personal possessions

Keep excessive amounts of sexual paraphernalia in their room

Rent their room by the hour, less than a day, or for a long-term stay that doesn’t appear normal

Back their car into the parking space, so the license plate is not outwardly visible

Sell items, ask or beg patrons or staff for food or money

Loitering or soliciting male patrons

Wait at a table or bar to be picked up by a male (could indicate trafficker or customer)

Take cash or receipts left on tables

Everyone has the power to help make a difference. Compliance with this bill is a call to action and a recognition of the vital role that the hospitality industry can play in combating all forms of human trafficking.

 

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