More than 93,000 sex slaves and 4,500 labour slaves are exploited in European hotels each year, according to a new, two-year study undertaken by three universities. The project, known as Combat, also revealed that some 12,500 labour slaves are exploited in restaurants.
As a result of the finding of the study, led by Oxford Brookes University working in partnership with the University of West London, the Lapland University of Applied Science in Finland and the Ratiu Centre for Democracy in Romania, a toolkit has been created to enable hospitality businesses to identify and prevent human trafficking. Co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union, the research has uncovered examples of child sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, labour exploitation in supply chains and hotel construction, forced criminality in hotels as well as forced prostitution and bonded labour.
Dr Maureen Brookes of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management said: “The focus of the Combat team is now on dissemination, engagement and impact. The findings and toolkit must reach the widest possible audience across the hospitality and tourism industry, and be used to fight human trafficking – one of the most disturbing forms of criminality facing modern society.” Prime Minister Theresa May has already announced a further £33m to combat modern slavery.
The Combat study is the latest initiative within the hospitality industry to tackle the exploitation of labour. Shiva Hotels is currently trialling an anti-trafficking charter to raise awareness and minimise the risks of modern slavery. And next week the company is hosting, in partnership with the Thompson Reuters Foundation, a round table to discuss the issue.