LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - According to the U.S. State Department human trafficking is something millions of people become victims of around the world. There were more than 5,000 reported cases of human trafficking last year, according to the Human Trafficking Hotline. Many cases involved hotels. Now several national chains are offering training classes to try and spot human trafficking.
Makana Aranda is the General Manager at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Lake Charles. She says this is a way for the staff to work as a collective and put a stop to this.
"The workforce needs to be educated as far as who to call, what to call, the implications that it has,” Aranda said. “They want to educate their staff from room attendants to breakfast attendants to front desk staff to be able to recognize the signs. There is no one face for what human trafficking looks like."
Kimberly St. John, General Manager for the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott says hotels are common for traffickers to use.
"We talk about the long term goals that Hilton, Marriott and IHG have set for us which is to reduce the number of spaces these people have to hide."
Some of the signs employees are trained to look for are things like customers using cash, customers asking for rooms closest to exits, the use of prepaid credit cards, and other suspicious activities. For more information, click here.
Le'Ann Aones from the Hampton in Sulphur says this practice should extend to any and all businesses.
"We have malls here, we have adult entertainment at the casinos, we have many community businesses and outlets that can be aware as well," Jones said.
St. John says this effort is the start the momentum that will make a difference.
"We know we can’t fix it over night, but this is the part we can play in our industry to shut it down as much as we can or to at least box it in,” St. John said. “As business leaders, we have a responsibility to our community, but this extends into the community. If you see something, please say something.”