A York hotel is at the forefront of a national campaign launched today which is aimed at stamping out modern slavery and sexual exploitation within the hospitality industry.
The Monkbar Hotel, located in the heart of the city and owned by Shiva Hotels, is taking a leading stand on the issue, which will see its staff being trained on how to identify victims of trafficking and or sexual grooming.
Additionally, the hotel will also be engaging with its customers, colleagues across the city and former victims to join in the fight.
Even though slavery and human trafficking is illegal, figures suggest there are still 45.8 million people trapped in modern slavery in the world today.
The UK government estimates there are up to 13,000 victims of slavery in the UK and, according to UNICEF, up to ten children get trafficked per week. The International Labour Organisation estimates that human trafficking is the third-largest illicit moneymaking venture in the world, generating about $150bn annually.
Rishi Sachdev, director of Shiva Hotels, said: “Modern slavery is an urgent issue that affects thousands of people across the UK and as a hotelier we have the opportunity to lead the way in addressing this issue.
“By ensuring our staff and guests are aware of the risks, we can help to prevent modern slavery and ensure the safety and livelihoods of those who may be at risk.”
Monkbar Hotel general manager Graham Usher joined other Shiva Hotel managers in London for a key meeting where the company’s blueprint to tackle this 21st Century problem was revealed.
Mr Usher and his colleagues were told how Shiva believes businesses need to take a stand – and play a leading role in addressing some of the key risk areas within the industry – including hotel usage, employment and supply chains.
Mr Usher, who also chair’s York Hotelier’s Association, said: “Shiva is taking a zero-tolerance approach to human trafficking within all its hotels, and the company hopes that this will be mirrored industry wide.
“The cooperation of hotels and leisure businesses is key to the success of this campaign due to the fact that more than 4.4 million people are employed in our sector.
“Shiva recognises that to eliminate this criminal activity altogether it will be a long and complex process, and one that can only be fully realised through constructive partnerships with law enforcement at all levels.
“Over the coming weeks the entire Monkbar team will be attending training sessions, learning about Shiva’s campaign and being taught how to spot those could be the victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
“We will be informing our guests as to what we, a Shiva-owned hotel is doing, and also how they too can help, namely by alerting staff members to anything suspicious.
“Additionally, we are also encouraging victims, and those at risk of becoming victims, to join us in our fight.”
Further information about Shiva Hotel’s fight against modern slavery is available from its website, http://www.shiva.co.uk/modernslavery