Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking (BEST) and the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation have formed a new partnership to continue to raise awareness of human trafficking within the hospitality industry. This partnership will provide training for Washington Hospitality Association members and support survivors of sex trafficking in finding safe employment within the hospitality industry. The Association has also joined the BEST Employers Alliance, committing as a workplace to implement policies and practices that prevent sex trafficking and sex buying.
Our partnership is dedicated to helping the hospitality workforce succeed through training and education which aligns closely with BEST’s goal to train the hospitality industry on sex trafficking prevention. The Education Foundation has developed many training and certification programs and sponsors several events in order to maintain the highest quality opportunities for employees within the hospitality industry.
The Education Foundation also oversees a restaurant management and culinary training program, ProStart, now available at over 30 high schools throughout Washington State. Additionally, for the 2016-17 school year, the Education Foundation awarded $16,500 to high school students who intend to major in a hospitality industry career. Find out more about this great organization on their website www.whaef.org
The Washington Lodging Association was one of our first partners, helping to develop the Inhospitable to Human Trafficking project (ITT). Through this partnership, we trained staff of over 160 properties to identify possible victims of trafficking and connect them with services.
In 2016, the Washington Lodging Association joined forces with the Washington Restaurant Association to launch the Washington Hospitality Association. BEST’s new partnership with the Association will build on these past successes, reaching far more hospitality businesses with awareness and training.
Primary Goals of Partnership
The Washington Hospitality Association will join BEST in raising awareness of the intersection between human trafficking and the hospitality industry through social media, newsletters, radio and video communications. These messages will be widely shared so that industry is informed about the risks of human trafficking and educated on how to prevent this crime.
Human trafficking can have negative consequences for businesses but these risks can be mitigated by training staff to notice signs of potential victims. Staff who have done the training quickly begin to make a positive impact in their communities. BEST has an online library of training courses at www.training.bestalliance.org. Currently, these courses are in the English language but BEST is seeking funding to have them translated into Spanish. Dr. Brettmann, BEST Executive Director, provided training at the annual Washington Hospitality Lodging Convention in 2016 and will be leading a seminar at the upcoming Washington Hospitality Association Summit on April 4, 2017 to be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Seattle.
A lack of alternative employment opportunities is one of the most serious barriers for people seeking freedom from a trafficker. BEST and the Washington Hospitality Association will be collaborating to find opportunities throughout the hospitality industry for safe employment. If you are interested in helping by providing employment, please contact BEST or the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation.
We are looking forward to this partnership making an even greater social impact by raising awareness of, and ultimately, preventing the crime of human trafficking throughout the hospitality industry in Washington State.