AHLA - The American Hotel & Lodging Association

AHLA Foundation Establishes Advisory Council to Combat Human Trafficking in the Hotel Industry

The AHLA Foundation has taken a bold step in the fight against human trafficking with the establishment of its inaugural No Room for Trafficking (NRFT) Advisory Council.

This council comprises top leaders from the hotel and lodging industry who will work together to champion and shape the industry’s efforts to combat human trafficking. With a focus on supporting survivors and providing critical resources, the NRFT program aims to unite the industry in eradicating this heinous crime.

The AHLA Foundation’s No Room for Trafficking program recognizes the urgent need to address human trafficking within the hospitality sector. By involving employers, employees, and communities, the program aims to promote empowerment and self-sufficiency among survivors while taking proactive steps to prevent trafficking. The NRFT Advisory Council will play a crucial role in spearheading these efforts and driving the industry’s collective fight against trafficking.

NRFT Advisory Council members include:

Co-Chair: Farah Bhayani, general counsel and chief compliance officer, G6 Hospitality, LLC
Co-Chair: Joan Bottarini, chief financial officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Jay Caiafa, chief operating officer, The Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts
Paul Cash, general counsel and chief compliance officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
George Limbert, president, Red Roof Franchising, LLC
Katherine Lugar, executive vice president of corporate affairs, Hilton
John Murray, president and CEO, Sonesta International Hotels
Mitch Patel, president and CEO, Vision Hospitality Group
Kelly Poling, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Extended Stay America
Tricia Primrose, executive vice president and chief global communications and public affairs officer, Marriott International
Marsha Ray, senior vice president of operations, Aimbridge Hospitality
Ben Seidel, president and CEO, Real Hospitality Group
Simone Wu, senior vice president and general counsel, Choice Hotels International

This esteemed group of leaders brings a wealth of experience and diverse perspectives to the table. By leveraging their expertise, the NRFT Advisory Council will be able to guide and shape the hotel industry’s anti-trafficking initiatives. One of their key responsibilities will be overseeing the NRFT Survivor Fund, which aims to provide essential resources to community-based organizations working to support and engage with survivors.

AHLA Foundation President Anna Blue emphasizes the hotel industry’s unwavering commitment to combating human trafficking. She states, “The esteemed group of leaders we’ve assembled as part of our inaugural NRFT Advisory Council underscores the hotel industry’s deep commitment to fighting human trafficking. With their leadership alongside AHLA and the AHLA Foundation’s steadfast commitment to this effort, we will continue to work across our industry on critically important human trafficking prevention efforts.”

This announcement builds upon the hotel industry’s ongoing dedication to preventing human trafficking and supporting survivors. Since 2020, the AHLA Foundation’s NRFT program has trained hundreds of thousands of hotel employees in anti-trafficking measures through a partnership with ECPAT-USA. By educating employees and raising awareness, the industry aims to create a safe and secure environment for guests and employees alike.

In 2022, the AHLA Foundation expanded its efforts by launching the industry’s first-ever Survivor Fund. This fund, which has already raised an impressive $3.4 million, supports trafficking survivors on their journey to recovery and self-sufficiency. To underscore their commitment, the AHLA Foundation will match NRFT Survivor Fund contributions up to $5 million, further amplifying the impact of this critical initiative.

Looking ahead, the NRFT Advisory Council plans to announce the inaugural NRFT Survivor Fund grantees at the upcoming second annual NRFT Summit, set to take place later this summer. This event will provide an opportunity to showcase the progress made and chart a course for continued efforts to combat human trafficking in the hotel industry.

The establishment of the NRFT Advisory Council represents a significant milestone in the fight against human trafficking. By leveraging the collective strength of the hotel and lodging industry and providing vital support to survivors, the AHLA Foundation is leading the charge to create real change. With a focus on prevention, empowerment, and community engagement, the No Room for Trafficking program sets a powerful example for other industries and sends a clear message that human trafficking will not be tolerated.

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