Sask. Hotel Association looking to combat human trafficking
REGINA -- Hotel staff have some of the most direct contact with people working in the sex trade.
"We take our role in this very seriously, we understand that there's a huge problem out there," said Jim Bence, President and CEO of Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association.
The SHHA is working on developing a training program for hotel employees to spot signs of human trafficking at their facility.
The training would focus on front line staff like front desk agents, room attendants and maintenance staff, who interact with guests most frequently.
"House keeping often times will notice, certain individuals, is there a lot of traffic coming in and out of one room, is that room towards the end of the hall, have they requested something near an exit and maintenance having to go in and fix things that wouldn't normally need fixing," Bence said.
Bence has been consulting with police services across the province, RCMP and the Ministry of Justice about what the training should include. He says the program has been met with a lot of support.
"Everybody that we've talked to law enforcement or municipal officials are really supportive of any efforts that we can bring people together, law enforcement and industry to be able to work on this because it’s just too important,” Bence said.
Some major hotel chains already provide training and Toronto police have developed a similar program for hotels in the city.
Bence says while Saskatchewan's program is still in its infancy, they hope to move quickly to do their part in combating human trafficking in the province.
“We have a vision of what it could look like and because we know where we want to get, it’s going to make it easier for us to invent the way,” he said.