Human trafficking lurks in unexpected corners, revealing its grim presence even in seemingly ordinary spaces. Sandy Biback, a meeting professional with over four decades of experience, discovered this sobering truth firsthand. In response, she established Meeting Professionals Against Human Trafficking (MPAHT), taking proactive steps to address the issue. In this episode of Hidden Traffic Podcast, Sandy and host Gwen Hassan uncover the surprising prevalence of human trafficking in the hotel and meetings industry and what we can do See more +
After a trip overseas opened her eyes, Sandy started investigating human trafficking in her hometown of Toronto. She soon discovered how widespread it is, including the shocking statistic that 90% of those trafficked in Canada are Canadian-born. Sandy decided to leverage her industry connections and founded MPAHT to raise awareness and promote training. Hotels and planners now recognize they have a duty to combat exploitation that could be enabling trafficking.
This issue needs more than a one-time training, Sandy explains; have ongoing conversations and check-ins to ensure it remains top of mind. She also suggests saving the National Human Trafficking Hotline number on your phone. However, you should not directly intervene if you witness anything suspicious, for both your safety and the victims’. Instead, “phone the front desk and make a noise complaint, and they’ll send somebody right away,” she advises.
On a corporate level, Sandy urges meeting planners and procurement teams to query venues and suppliers about their anti-trafficking policies before booking. Vote with your wallets to inspire change. She remarks, “If I’m a meeting planner, and I’m coming in with half a million dollars worth of business, and you can’t tell me about your hotel’s training or awareness, but this hotel can, and it’s the same price, guess where I’m taking my business?”
Rather than reinvent the wheel, Sandy says, use the resources that already exist to help combat human trafficking. For example, PACT offers free resources, including best practices and training. Our collective responsibility is to remain vigilant, educate others, and affect positive change in the industry to protect vulnerable people from exploitation. See less –