An estimated 11,700 people live in modern slavery in the UK, and Prime Minster Theresa May has labelled it “the great human rights issue of our time”. From goods produced by forced labour to hotels being used for sexual exploitation, modern slavery is a very real concern for the hotel and hospitality industry.
Yet the scale and nature of the problem in the hotel industry is often undetected or underreported. Victims may be unaware that their treatment is illegal. If they are aware, they may be unable to report their situation for risk of deportation, as this harrowing story of a Bangladeshi man who became enslaved in a remote Scottish hotel details. In addition, multi-tier recruitment systems can mean that forced labour is very difficult to spot. Without knowing how to spot the signs, hotel guests and staff may not realise that hotel staff are being forced to work against their will.
To help raise awareness and tackle the problem of modern slavery, Shiva Foundation – a corporate foundation funded by Shiva Hotels – is developing and testing methods to be shared throughout the hotel and hospitality sector. The Foundation is now beginning to pilot its Anti-Trafficking Charter at the DoubleTree by Hilton in London, one of the properties managed by Shiva Hotels.
The Anti-Trafficking Charter, which is being tested before being refined and fully launched by the end of the year, includes practical guidance for hotel staff on how to spot and report concerns, steps to identify potential risks in operational supply chains as well as purchasing of capital goods and protocols to minimise the risks of modern slavery. The DoubleTree is also making Shiva Hotels’ mission statement on anti-trafficking on each of the 260 televisions in guests’ rooms. This unique initiative, which will be rolled out across Shiva Hotels’ portfolio once the Charter is launched, aims to raise awareness of the problem and also encourage vigilance among guests. In addition, staff at the DoubleTree are receiving awareness training to ensure they are confident in identifying and reporting potential problems. The DoubleTree has never had any reported problems with modern slavery, but these proactive steps will help to promote accountability and transparency, and ensure that as much as possible is done to safeguard against possible risks.
As part of Shiva Foundation’s efforts to create an industry-wide commitment and model to tackle modern slavery, it is convening leading hoteliers at a roundtable in London on the 2nd November. Using the work with Shiva Hotels as an example, this roundtable – which will be a closed eventheld in partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation – will help the industry address how it can best tackle slavery within its supply chains and beyond. The aim is for attendees to collectively contribute to building a model that can be rolled out across the industry. Shiva Foundation intends to present the shared commitment to tackling modern slavery at the Trust Women conference on 30th November in London.
Rishi Sachdev, Founder & Director of Shiva Foundation and Shiva Hotels, said: “It is important that those in the hotel and hospitality industry work together to combat modern slavery. Real change takes commitment and collaboration. By sharing knowledge and expertise we can ensure that best practice is spread more quickly, helping ensure the safety and livelihoods of those who may be at risk.”
“Working towards an industry-wide model to help tacklemodern slavery will be a major step and we look forward to discussing how to achieve this at the upcoming roundtable.”
For more information contact Harry Day on 0207 403 2230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
About Shiva Foundation
Shiva Foundation is a corporate foundation that is working to prevent human trafficking and slavery in the UK. We do this by working closely in partnership with individuals, businesses and across communities. We focus on educating people to understand the context behind human trafficking and building practical solutions to stop it happening.
Shiva Foundation was established in 2012 by Rishi Sachdev and his wife Meenal Sachdev. Rishi Sachdev formed Shiva Hotels, which funds Shiva Foundation, in 2003.
About Shiva Hotels
Shiva Hotels develops and manages several major London hotels, including Kingsway Hall in Covent Garden, Millennium Bridge House by the Thames and Hampton by Hilton in Waterloo.