News release: Minnesota lodging industry training staff to recognize and prevent sex trafficking

News Release
November 1, 2018

Contact information

Minnesota lodging industry training staff to recognize and prevent sex trafficking

Together with the Minnesota Lodging Association, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today released the Sex Trafficking Prevention and Response Training for the Minnesota Lodging Industry. The training is a requirement of a mandate passed during the 2018 Minnesota Legislative Session stating that employees of hotels and motels in Minnesota must be trained to recognize sex trafficking. Minnesota joins several other states in implementing this type of requirement.

Sex trafficking happens across Minnesota. A recent report by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation found that of the victims receiving Safe Harbor sex trafficking prevention and recovery services in the state, 36 percent of victims were in the Twin Cities metro area and 64 percent were in greater Minnesota. Given the often hidden nature of sex trafficking, gathering accurate data on prevalence can be difficult.

According to data from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Polaris BeFree Texting Helpline, nearly 1,500 cases of sex trafficking in hotels and motels involving more than 1,800 victims have been reported in the U.S. since 2007. This makes the training of staff in recognizing and reporting sex trafficking an important piece of prevention.

“Sex trafficking is a growing and complex public health concern in Minnesota,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “There is a need for action at all levels through policy, programs, and preventive efforts. Partnerships between the public and private sectors, like this one with Minnesota hotels and motels, are welcome, because they make a critical difference in addressing the issue.”

Current hotel and motel owners, managers, and employees must complete the new training by Nov. 28, 2018, and new employees must be trained within 90 days of hire. Operators are also required to post and maintain an approved poster on sex trafficking in a location visible to all staff, conduct annual training and support an ongoing awareness campaign for employees.These requirements are tied to hotel and motel licensing.

“Our lodging association members supported this legislation because they recognize the important role they play in eliminating sex trafficking in our state and want to help,” said Liz Rammer, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota and executive vice president of the Minnesota Lodging Association. “Training materials were carefully and thoughtfully developed with hotel and motel staff in mind to ensure that they are relevant and actionable.”

Training materials include a manager and owner training toolkit, trainee guide, poster set for display, and guided training presentation. You can access more information about the Sex Trafficking Prevention and Response Training for the Minnesota Lodging Industry on the Safe Harbor website.

The MDH Safe Harbor Program is the result of the Safe Harbor Law passed in 2011. It raises awareness, understanding and identification of the commercial sexual exploitation of youth. The program also coordinates the state response to sex trafficking with cross-sector partners.

The Minnesota Lodging Association has provided business support services to hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfasts since 1931. Membership includes major hotel brands as well as independent properties throughout the state. MLA members receive access to industry data, advocacy, education, marketing and networking. The MLA is a state partner of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

-MDH-


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications
651-201-5806
scott.smith@state.mn.us

Mary Smith
Marketing & Communications Manager
Minnesota Lodging Association
651-925-4017
mary@hospitalitymn.com