Human trafficking in hotels: an "invisible" threat for a vulnerable industry
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Purpose: To identify and analyse the hotel sector's vulnerabilities that human traffickers exploit in order to use hotels as conduits for trafficking in human beings (THB). Design/methodology/approach: Using the MAVUS framework of sector vulnerability analysis, the study adopted a qualitative approach employing environmental scanning and semi-structured key stakeholder interviews in three European countries: UK, Finland and Romania. Findings: The study identifies the types of THB occurring
... THB occurring within the industry and the specific macro-, meso-and micro-level factors that increase hotel vulnerability to trafficking for sexual exploitation, labour exploitation or both. Research limitations/implications: Given the sensitivity of the topic the number of interviewees is limited as is the generalisability of the findings. Practical implications: The framework developed serves as a practical tool for independent or chain-affiliated hotels to use to assess their vulnerability to human trafficking for both sexual and labour exploitation. Social implications: The framework will assist hotel professionals to assess their vulnerability to human trafficking and identify specific and proactive measures to combat this crime within their business. Originality/value: This is the first study to empirically explore human trafficking in the hotel sector and to apply an integrated theoretical lens to examine macro-, meso-and micro-level sector vulnerabilities to a crime. It contributes to our understanding of why hotels are vulnerable to human trafficking for both sexual and labour exploitation.