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Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a serious and increasingly dramatic phenomenon. It is particularly prominent in Central and South Eastern Europe but is also rising in Western Europe.
A significant proportion of trafficking is undertaken through hospitality and tourism businesses, for example travel agencies, airlines and hotels which, by their nature, facilitate the movement and accommodation of traffickers and their victims.
International and European measures have been introduced to combat this crime. However, although a solid legal and policy framework has been established, including the introduction by the UK coalition government of a Modern Slavery Bill, THB is assuming worrying dimensions to the point of being considered as the 'slavery of our times'.
Oxford School of Hospitality Management and Oxford Brookes University Business School is currently leading a consortium of academic and industry partners working on a project aiming to develop measures for combating human trafficking in the hospitality and tourism industry.
The consortium includes Oxford Brookes Colleagues, Dr Maureen Brookes from the Oxford School of Hospitality Management, Professor Simonetta Manfedi and Kate Clayton-Hathaway from the Oxford Brookes Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice and Dr Sonia Morano-Foadi from the School of Law. Research teams from the University of West London, Lapland University of Applied Sciences and the Ratiu Centre for Democracy in Romania are also involved.
It is supported with funding of £250,000 by the EC Directorate of Home Affairs under the Internal Security Fund's targeted call for Trafficking of Human Beings and will be completed in August 2016.
Other aims include developing a comprehensive training toolkit for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector to assist them in setting up company-wide policies and procedures to identify, deter and prevent trafficking.
For more information, please visit the COMBAT web pages.
"This project will help hospitality and tourism businesses to combat different types of human trafficking through the identification of critical intervention points."
Maureen Brookes Reader, Oxford School of Hospitality Management