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Trafficking in human beings (THB) is a serious and dramatic phenomenon. Although a solid legal and policy framework* has been established, THB is assuming worrying dimensions to the point of being considered as the “slavery of our times”.
Recent statistics by the International Labour Organization (2012) show that the global social problem of THB is rising in Western Europe. A significant proportion of trafficking is undertaken through travel and tourism businesses which, by their nature, facilitate the movement and accommodation of traffickers and their victims. There is also evidence that tourism businesses are used for sexual and labour exploitation of trafficking victims.
COMBAT is a project funded by the EC Directorate of Home Affairs under the Internal Security Fund’s targeted call for Trafficking in Human Beings. COMBAT seeks, in full alignment with the legal and policy framework, to involve all the relevant hospitality and tourism stakeholders in the design of a preventive and remedial training toolkit. This will offer unique, practical, step-by-step guidance for tourism businesses to combat THB.
It is co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union.
June 2017 - Toolkit officially endorsed
Combat Training Toolkit is officially endorsed by the Institute of Hospitality and received the following commendations and recommendation:
Commendations: 1) This initiative is to be particularly commended as being timely and important in both creating the awareness of the scale of the issue and providing hotels with a well-designed and well considered toolkit for use across all staffing levels. 2) The quality of the reference guide and the supporting learning materials it is to be commended. It is important that the users recognise the value and quality of the toolkit and its immediate application. 3) The inclusion of a ‘train the trainer’ manual and opportunity to modify and develop materials for specific use in-house provides flexibility to the user that is to be commended.
Recommendation: It is recommended that the toolkit is given the widest possible exposure and coverage as the only free and very valuable.
Dr Maureen Brookes, invited to attend the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner South Eastern Regional Modern Slavery Conference.
Dr Maureen Brookes and Professor Alexandros Paraskevas, UK members of the Combat team ran workshops for the Slough Hotel Watch and Oxford Hotel Watch initiatives.
Dr Maureen Brookes and Professor Alexandros Paraskevas, UK members of the Combat team ran a combat workshops industry members as part of the CHME Annual Conference, Aalborg, Denmark.
Dr Maureen Brookes and Professor Alexandros Paraskevas, UK members of the Combat team, accepted the STR/SHARE/CHME Award for research impact in Aalborg, Denmark.
Dr Maureen Brookes was a professional panel member for Childreach International’s l Anti-Trafficking Initiative.
Dr Maureen Brookes and Professor Alexandros Paraskevas were invited members to a roundtable dialogue for “Men who travel to abuse children: The Issue of Transnational Child Sexual Abuse" in London.
March 2017 - Award nomination
The Combat Human Trafficking Project has been nominated for the 'Best international project implemented by a university' in an annual Finnish competition entitled 'Kärjet'. The results will be announced in Spring.
February 2017 - Update on the Combat Human Trafficking Project
The Combat Human Trafficking Project was brought to an official close on October 10th, 2016 with a finale event at Asia House in London. The entire project team was in attendance to launch a key output of the project, the Combat Training Toolkit to an audience from hotel firms, professional associations, NGOs and trade unions. The Toolkit contains a wide range of resources to help hotels and other accommodation businesses to develop policies and procedures to combat this growing crime and minimise their risk of exposure. The training materials within the Toolkit, are suitable for and adaptable to hotels that are part of large corporate chains as well as smaller and independent properties. The Combat project and the Toolkit have attracted the attention of numerous organisations such as the International Organization for Migration, Childreach International, ECPAT UK, the Works Right Centre and the Shiva Foundation. You can access the toolkit through the tab on the left of this page.
Since the launch project members have been active in promoting the Toolkit to relevant stakeholders. The UK team of researchers have been engaging in dialogue to ensure that the Toolkits are disseminated with a number of international, European and national organisations including the UNWTO in Madrid, the European Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes (Hotrec), Brussels and the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (Brussels). As a result, the UK team was invited to present to an EFFAT-Hotrec Social Dialogue in Brussels, and to the World Tourism Network on Child Protection in Berlin. Subsequent invitations have been extended for presentations to other unions, join roundtable discussion and expert panels and to deliver workshops at numerous joint industry/academic conferences. A Management Guide has been written and a webinar held for members of the Institute of Hospitality. On a regional level, they have also been working closely with the Thames Valley Police and the different Hotel Watch Schemes that have been established to combat trafficking by delivering a number of training sessions on how to use the Toolkit.
In Finland, the project team have also been working with government agencies, NGOs and industry professionals including the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Ministry of the Interior, Lapland Border Guard, Lapland State Administrative Agency, Finnish Police, the Obudsman of Human Rights, Victim Support Finland and the Finnish Red Cross amongst others. In Romania, the Toolkit has been presented to the National Agency against Human Trafficking and the International Labour Organisation.
Project partners are embedding the results of the project into their academic curriculum at undergraduate and postgraduate. A number of industry/educational associations are hosting or providing links to the Toolkit on their websites; EuroCHRIE (EMEA); APacCHRIE (Asia Pacific); CHME (UK); COHREP (the Philippines). A number of articles have been written in the press in different countries as a result of these activities. In the UK, the project has also won the 2016 ATHE/ABTA Award for tourism and globalisation research and has been nominated for the 2017 CHME/SHARE Award for research with impact.
It is important however that we continue to work hard to ensure that members of the hospitality and tourism industry implement the training offered in the toolkit and develop procedures and policies to combat the growing crime of human trafficking.
If you are using the toolkit, we would love to have your feedback. If you would like to know more about the Combat project or the Tookit, then please contact Dr Maureen Brookes at firstname.lastname@example.org