New Training for Hotel Industry Staff to Combat Human Trafficking to be Launched

First Training Takes Place at The Phoenician Resort on January 15

SCOTTSDALE - The Arizona Attorney General's Office, Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network (AATN), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will launch new training for hospitality staff at hotels on how to identify, report, and prevent sex trafficking. The training is part of the SAFE (Safeguarding All From Exploitation) Action Project, a free program designed for tourism industry professionals. This past summer, SAFE provided similar training for Transportation Security Administration (TSA), American Airlines, and Sky Harbor employees.

The first hotel training will take place on January 15th at 9 AM at The Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale. It will be open to all hotel employees and members of the media. A brief press conference will be held onsite at the Phoenician on Wednesday, January 15 beginning at 9 AM. The training will take place immediately following the press conference.

“The SAFE Action Project offers a wide variety of human trafficking training resources to help travel, hospitality, and tourism staff, along with everyday travelers nationwide, to recognize the warning signs of human trafficking and how to report suspicious behavior, with a ‘see something, say something’ approach," said AATN President John Meza. "We aim to train hospitality and tourism industry professionals on how to recognize, report, and ultimately end human trafficking in Arizona. Everyone has a role to play in combating this horrific crime.”

Tourism is a huge industry in Arizona. In 2018, more than 45 million people visited Arizona and collectively spent $24.4 billion, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism. The goal of SAFE is to reach all corners of the tourism industry, including hotels, restaurants, ride-sharing, airports, stadiums, and other places where large groups of people gather and travel. Personnel in the tourism industry are often unaware of the dangerous situations taking place on their property or at their business. It is important to train all hospitality employees, who interact with customers daily, on the warning signs of human trafficking. This horizontal approach is a key component of the SAFE training efforts.

“Human trafficking is a disgusting crime that exploits some of the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “We're going to keep going aggressively after traffickers like Robert Hood, making sure they spend significant time behind bars, where they belong. It will take the entire community coming together to fight human trafficking. I am thankful for our partners, The Phoenician, and our advisors who are helping make a difference.”

“Every day HSI agents around the globe work to uncover, dismantle and disrupt human trafficking. In part, the success of these investigations is directly attributed to the partnerships we have with not only law enforcement but the non-government organizations,” said Scott Brown, Special Agent in Charge for the HSI Phoenix office. “Victims, often hidden in plain sight, have a chance of survival if the public is made aware of this heinous crime by way of education and outreach programs. We are committed to eradicating human trafficking and will continue to support our partners to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Additionally, several other hotel chains are participating in the SAFE Action Project. Westroc Hospitality will begin training its employees at Hotel Valley Ho, Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale, and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort. Upon completion, Westroc Hospitality will receive the SAFE certification, which has been endorsed by the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association.

Prosecuting human trafficking remains a top priority for Attorney General Brnovich. Since taking office in January 2015, the office has prosecuted 251 cases connected to sex trafficking, child sex trafficking, or illegal enterprises/money laundering in the trafficking arena. Those numbers include all forms of sex trafficking and other illegal enterprises involving the sexual exploitation of others for money.

Businesses can watch web-based training modules on the SAFE website. They can also request in-person training.

SAFE Advisors include:

  • American Airlines
  • Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association
  • Arizona Office of Tourism
  • CleanUp HT
  • Lyft
  • Visit Phoenix

If you are a member of the media, and you would like to RSVP for the training, please email Katie Conner at [email protected].