SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Hotel and motel employees in Illinois will be trained to identify the warning signs of human trafficking – and will learn the best practices for reporting suspicious activities – under a bill introduced by state Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, and recently signed into law.
“Almost 300 human trafficking cases were reported in Illinois last year, but many more cases of exploitation go unreported every day,” said Costa Howard, an attorney who has spent her career advocating for vulnerable women and children. “By training hotel and motel employees to recognize and report signs of trafficking, we can help to save hundreds of victims from further exploitation every year.”
Hotels and motels are frequently used as sites for human trafficking, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Costa Howard’s Lodging Establishment Human Trafficking Recognition Training Act requires hotel and motel employees to receive training every two years on the warning signs of human trafficking and the best practices for reporting suspected criminal activity.
“The safety of our guests and employees is our industry’s number one priority,” said Michael Jacobson, the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association’s President and CEO. “Sadly, hotels in cities large and small are being used by traffickers to exploit their victims. Our industry is steadfast in robust training and knowledge-sharing to identify and eradicate this problem. We are all in this together. With our collaboration between the legislature, law enforcement and the private sector, we will continue to fight back against human trafficking and put an end to slavery in our society.”