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01/19/2017

Gov. Malloy Announces Launch of Public-Private Partnership to Help Hospitality Employees Identify Warning Signs of Human Trafficking

New Training Program Guides Hotel Employees Learn How to Take Action to Stop Trafficking

Governor Malloy stands with representatives of organizations helping to fight human trafficking
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(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the State of Connecticut, in partnership with certain private organizations, has teamed up to provide a series of training programs for employees in the state’s hospitality industry that will help them identify possible warning signs of human trafficking in their establishments and how to respond if they are concerned a person may be trafficked.  Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers compel victims to engage in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will.

The public-private partnership involves the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF); the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP); the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors; Marriott International; Quinnipiac University School of Law, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Connecticut Lodging Association, and Grace Farms Foundation, a private non-profit organization based out of New Canaan.

The training program was developed specifically for hotel employees by Marriott International and ECPAT-USA, with support from Polaris, a national leader in the fight to eradicate human trafficking.  It is being made available to all employees in the state’s hospitality industry, as required under Public Act 16-71, which Governor Malloy signed into law last year.

“Human trafficking isn’t just happening abroad – it is an issue we face right here at home in Connecticut.  It is a problem that shocks the conscience, and that is exactly why I have proposed and supported legislation in recent years that strengthens protections for victims of human trafficking, gives law enforcement the tools needed to bring perpetrators to justice, and helps raise public awareness,” Governor Malloy said.  “I applaud the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council, Marriott International, Quinnipiac University School of Law and all of the partners who have collaborated to ensure a quality training program is available for all hospitality industry employees in our state.”

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and the state and its partners have taken the opportunity to build public awareness and the support necessary to end it.

“As we gain greater awareness that this is happening here in Connecticut, we will become more attuned to identifying and helping the victims and also more effective at forming the partnerships that can help us prevent more victims in the future,” DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said.  “I thank the General Assembly for enacting this new law, but also the hotel industry, Quinnipiac University and Grace Farms for so vigorously working to implement it.”

“Sadly, human trafficking is a dark reality for countless men, women and children each year.  This training is a valuable opportunity to help Connecticut’s hospitality industry identify the signs and symptoms of this unspeakable crime to help prevent further victimization,” DESPP Commissioner Dora Schriro said.  “I would like to thank Governor Malloy and the legislature for enacting this landmark legislation.”

“We are so pleased that Marriott’s human trafficking training, which we developed with two leading human rights NGOs, was selected to support the State of Connecticut’s hospitality training requirement.” Mari L. Snyder, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Marriot International, said.  “This collaboration of five organizations – Quinnipiac Law School, Grace Farms Foundation, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the State of Connecticut, and Marriott – should make for meaningful and lasting impact on this issue.”

“This initiative to educate hotel and motel personnel is a great example of a successful public-private partnership working to address a serious social problem,” Steven Hernandez, executive director of the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, said.  “Under the leadership of the Trafficking in Persons Council, Connecticut’s anti-trafficking policies are among the strongest in the nation, and we are leading the way in addressing this horrible crime against children and women.  We welcome the collaboration with the Marriott and other leading hospitality companies willing to train staff to be aware of warning signs of trafficking activity.”

“Quinnipiac School of Law is pleased to join this innovative partnership to combat human trafficking in Connecticut,” Jennifer Gerarda Brown, Dean of Quinnipiac School of Law, said.  “Our faculty and students look forward to working with members of the Connecticut bar and with Connecticut businesses to ensure compliance with our state's new anti-human trafficking law.  Trafficking poses an immediate threat to human rights not just around the world but right here in our state.  Projects such as this one serve Quinnipiac School of Law’s mission to educate the next generation of lawyers about the importance of public service and the promise of law as a tool to achieve social justice for everyone in our community.”

Ginny Kozlowski, Executive Director of the Connecticut Lodging Association, said, “Unfortunately, human traffickers rely on hotels, motels, and other lodging service providers to carry out their crimes, often times without the knowledge of these reputable businesses.  The lodging industry must send a clear and firm message that we do not tolerate these crimes, especially when child victims are involved.  The Connecticut Lodging Association understands the importance and has embraced the new law requiring training for lodging staff to help them spot signs of human trafficking.  Lodging and hospitality staff, from maids to waiters, can help in the efforts to disrupt human trafficking, but only if they know what to look for.”

“The American Hotel and Lodging Association and the hotel industry take our role in preventing human trafficking at hotels very seriously and are proud to partner with the Governor and a host of other allies to take action in Connecticut,” Craig Kalkut, the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs, said.  “We are pleased that the training we developed with Marriott International, ECPAT-USA, and Polaris will be playing a critical role in moving the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking forward.”

“Grace Farms Foundation is honored to be a part of this inspiring public-private collaboration dedicated to educating Connecticut’s lodging institutions about the scourge of modern day slavery,” Krishna Patel, Grace Farms Foundation Justice Initiative Director and General Counsel, said.  “Under a banner of shared responsibility and collaboration, expanded partnerships and the implementation of prevention and enforcement strategies, we can join forces with our community to eradicate the serious problem of human trafficking.”

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