Hotels respond to nuns’ initiative to raise awareness about sex trafficking

La Grange, IL

Hotels in the Indianapolis area are better equipped to recognize and help victims of human trafficking thanks to an initiative launched before Sunday’s Super Bowl by a group of 11 orders of Catholic nuns, including those in La Grange Park, in collaboration with state and local officials and organizations.

Among them were members of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in La Grange Park, Tipton, Ind., and Kalamazoo, Mich.

The goal of the initiative was to raise awareness about human trafficking, assure that hotel staff receive appropriate training and distribute educational materials to hotels willing to make them available in lobbies and guest rooms.

Of the 220 hotels that the women contacted, 200 hotel mangers provided responses to questions asked by members of the religious orders. As a result of these phone calls, seven hotels requested training prior to the Super Bowl to help their employees recognize trafficking situations and how to assist victims. In addition, 99 hotels asked for materials that include:

-Brochures about human trafficking for staff and guests;
-Copies of the ECPAT (Ending Child Prostitution and Trafficking) Code of Conduct developed by the hospitality industry to deter child sexual exploitation; and
-Local anti-trafficking contact information, such as a 24-hour victim assistance hotline, safehouses and police and law enforcement officials.

“We are very gratified by the responses from hotel managers and pleased that they made time to talk and work with us in this very busy season,” said Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Ann Oestreich, co-chair of the Coalition for Corporate Responsibility for Indiana and Michigan.