Regulation

Hotel sector failing to protect staff from ‘forced labour and sexual exploitation’

Hotels are “failing” to protect employees, agency workers, and workers in supply chains from forced labour and sexual exploitation, according to a new report by Walk Free, an initiative of the Minderoo Foundation.

The report assessed 71 hotel companies and found that only a quarter meet the minimum requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act. The vast majority of hotel companies, 76%, also failed to disclose any information on how they check and address risks to workers in their supply chains.

Additionally, the report found that only 13% of companies reported specific policies to prevent the sexual exploitation of workers- another requirement of the Act.

Walk Free has called on the UK Government to “show leadership” and enforce the Act against non-compliant companies, and has laid out “practical” steps for hotels to improve its anti-slavery efforts.

Walk Free CEO Jenn Morris said the new report shows that government legislation needed to go further, and added: “Despite the introduction of the UK Modern Slavery Act four years ago, this report shows hotels are failing to meet the legal reporting requirements, let alone moving beyond compliance to protect against modern slavery risks.

“Everybody loves to go on holiday but how would you feel if the porter taking your suitcase was a migrant worker trapped in debt bondage? Or if the person cleaning your room was forced to work long hours for little pay? It is a sobering reality that requires action from the hotel sector.”

She added: “It comes down to two things: a lack of commitment by hotel companies to do the right thing, and a failure of the UK government to hold companies to account.”

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