Maryland’s unique location contributes to making it a central location for human trafficking. Traffickers use Maryland’s highways, especially Interstate-95, to transport victims to major East Coast cities such as New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Interstate-95 runs through some of the state’s most populated cities, making this highway a major corridor for human trafficking activity, according to the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force.
Human trafficking networks often rely on legitimate businesses, such as hotels, to sustain their operations and infrastructure. Given the transient nature of the hotel industry, with its service-focused culture that respects guest privacy, hotels can be an appealing environment for human traffickers. Therefore, it is essential that hotel employees are trained in what to look for.
“Try to imagine having your freedom taken away, continuously living with the fear of violence, and being forced to work against your will. These are things that human trafficking victims often experience,” explains Mar Brettmann, PhD, Executive Director for BEST. “Our human trafficking awareness training helps hotel employees learn how to spot the warning signs when a guest is being trafficked, and to know how to safely report it.”
This new partnership will give more hotel and motel owners and managers across Maryland the opportunity to implement BEST’s valuable anti-trafficking training at no cost to MHLA’s members. MHLA is the most recent hotel association to adopt BEST’s human trafficking prevention training, joining a growing list of large hotel associations utilizing the program.
"We are proud to partner with BEST on this very important issue,” said Amy Rohrer, President & CEO of MHLA. “BEST’s Inhospitable to Human Trafficking training is an informative and practical resource for hoteliers and their staff. This training will provide the Maryland lodging industry with the education necessary to help protect victims of exploitation and increase employee safety.”