Modern Slavery & Human trafficking GHA Training Day
At the October bi-monthly Gatwick Hotels Association (GHA) meeting the membership asked the police if they would consider running a modern slavery and human trafficking training session for us, primarily aimed at front line staff. We have previously been made aware by the police that these activities are rampant in the Gatwick area.
PCSO Victor Finch from the Gatwick police prevention team responded very quickly and a course was arranged courtesy of Chris Schoeman GM who agreed to host the training at the Holiday Inn Worth. Two sessions were run on Friday 29th November, with one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Each session lasted two hours and was presented by Detective Sergeant Steven Luxford. The purpose of the course was to highlight the issues and help hotel front line staff to identify possible abuses.
What this means in numbers (if anything, this could be under-estimated) is that there are:
• 40 million cases worldwide – worth 150 Billion US dollars
• 4.8 million involving no consent
• 13,000 occurrences of slavery in the UK
34 candidates attended the two training sessions from the following hotels: Hilton, Sandman Signature, Courtyard Marriott, Bloc, Copthorne and Effingham Park hotels. Photographs of the candidates are shown above and below this article.
The course was not only well received by those who attended but practically everybody understood how difficult it could be to identify an abuser or their victims. The course provided a useful insight into some of the relatively easy indicators to look for which might suggest abuse and advised not to make assumptions about how an abuser would behave: they can be very plausible.
Speaking to candidates to get feedback after the course, Emma Pellen, front office manager at the Copthorne Effingham Hotels, said the facts she had learned left her feeling chilled to the bone. Others felt numbed and sickened and indicated they would do everything in their power to assist the police in tackling this appalling situation. A series of posters have been sent to hotels for display in staff areas to help remind staff of identifying behaviours.
The message from the police was that if you suspect somebody is being exploited in your hotel, after speaking to your line managers and GM’s, just pick up the phone and use the code name to report your suspicions – the police would rather you phone and you were wrong than ignore it and somebody suffers.
Finally, we are appealing to those candidates who attended the course to ask them not only to act as ambassadors to increase the awareness at your own hotels but also to recommend via line management who else in your hotel would benefit from this important awareness training. Your line management should then contact one of the GHA Executive Committee ASAP so that further courses can be arranged in January, and beyond if necessary. The police are only too happy to assist in raising awareness and forging further cooperation with the GHA hotels to stamp out this invidious practice.