ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, First Lady Marty Kemp, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Attorney General Chris Carr, Rep. Doug Collins and Georgia Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones partnered with the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Asian American Hotel Owners Association and the Georgia Hotel and Lodging Association to raise awareness across the state for a unified approach to combating human trafficking.
As part of the effort, they joined the hotel industry for a human trafficking prevention training session, hosted at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta hotel, for hundreds of Atlanta-area hotel employees. The InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta is one of the brand’s flagship properties for InterContinental Hotels Group, headquartered in Atlanta.
“As a state, we are committed to working hand-in-hand across all levels of government to end trafficking, and our work on the GRACE Commission facilitates this vital collaboration,” Carr said. “As we continue to expand our reach in this fight, we are so pleased to see hotels across Georgia partner with our law enforcement officers, who work tirelessly day in and day out to hold traffickers accountable.”
The training session is part of a wave of regional events following the launch of AHLA’s No Room for Trafficking campaign and AAHOA’s Human Trafficking Awareness Training, which build upon the hospitality industry’s longstanding commitment to the fight against human trafficking by educating and training every hotel worker. By partnering with lawmakers and human trafficking prevention partners, these events raise public awareness and facilitate collaboration with government, law enforcement and hoteliers on best practices for policies, procedures and training to enhance our human trafficking prevention efforts.
“IHG condemns human trafficking in all forms, and we are taking a strong stance on this issue as a leading voice in the hospitality industry,” Colleen Keating, chief operating officer for Americas IHG, said. “Raising awareness of human trafficking is critical, and it’s more important now than ever that we work closely with our local, state and federal officials, as well as our industry partners, to tackle this issue, while also engaging and training hotel employees at every level to help them understand the role they can play in preventing human trafficking.”
Already each year, thousands of hotel employees are trained on how to identify and stop trafficking, and this campaign unites the industry around the shared goal to end human trafficking.
“Thanks to our members across the country, our industry is leading the charge to combat human trafficking and support survivors,” AHLA CEO Chip Rogers said. “As we continue to build on this legacy of trafficking prevention and awareness, today we are proud to partner with Gov. Kemp, First Lady Kemp, Attorney General Carr and so many other Georgia lawmakers who are all playing a critical role in the fight against trafficking.”
At the event, Marty Kemp, co-chair of the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion and Education Commission, spoke about the state’s efforts to tackle human trafficking, hold bad actors accountable and support survivors. The GRACE Commission is spearheaded by Georgia’s first lady and members include Carr and other top law enforcement officials, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, faith-based institutions and public safety experts.
Perdue and Doug Collins were in attendance to discuss their efforts on the federal level and what role the private industry can play in developing effective solutions.
“Through the GRACE Commission, Georgia has made significant progress in the fight to end human trafficking, and we’re proud that the hotel industry is playing a leading role by continuing to train their associates on identifying and reporting human trafficking both here in Georgia and across the country,” Marty Kemp said. “We know there is always more to be done in this fight, and we are committed to working alongside partners like the hotel industry to end trafficking.”
The hotel industry has long recognized the role it plays in ending human trafficking, and through innovative techniques and employee training, has played an instrumental role in identifying, reporting and stopping instances of human trafficking.
“The hospitality industry is committed to equipping hoteliers and their employees with the necessary tools to keep trafficking out of their hotels and communities,” Rachel Humphrey, interim president and CEO of AAHOA, said. “The education and training resources that AAHOA, AHLA and GHLA provide to the hospitality industry play a critical role in saving lives by ensuring hotel staff are trained to identify instances of trafficking and are prepared to take immediate action.”
In August, the hotel industry hosted a regional training event in Iowa in partnership with Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Joni Ernst. The next regional event will be held in Austin, Texas, later this month.
“Hoteliers and their employees are the first line of defense when it comes to combating human trafficking and spotting victims,” Jim Sprouse, president of GHLA, said. “We are proud to partner across our industry and with leaders like the first family and Attorney General Carr, who are working diligently to combat this issue.”
To learn more about AAHOA’s human trafficking awareness training, visit aahoa.com/htat.
To learn more about AHLA’s No Room for Trafficking campaign, visit ahla.com/noroomfortrafficking.