Sex Trafficking Prevention and Response Training for the Minnesota Lodging Industry - Minnesota Department of Health

Safe Harbor
Prevention and Response Training for the Minnesota Lodging Industry

Human trafficking is a public health issue and a violation of human rights that occurs throughout the world and in communities across Minnesota. Sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Minnesota is commonly overlooked, misidentified, and goes underreported. Those working in the hospitality industry have a unique opportunity to identify and help prevent sex trafficking.

The Role of Hotels and Motels

Everyone has a role to play in preventing sex trafficking. Hotels and motels are common locations for trafficking to occur. Those working in the hospitality industry can prevent sex trafficking by recognizing key signs of sex trafficking and knowing how to respond. Hotel and motel owners, managers, and staff can help identify victims and save lives. 

Safety of staff and guests is also important. Staff members can help keep everyone safe by being able to recognize trafficking within a hotel.

Required Training for Hotel and Motel Staff

Minnesota law now requires sex trafficking prevention training for all hotels and motels in the state. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), in partnership with the Minnesota Lodging Association, created the Sex Trafficking Prevention and Response Training for the Minnesota Lodging Industry (The Minnesota Hotel Training Package) for hotels and motels to use to satisfy this law.

Hotels and motel operators are required to: 

  • Ensure all owners, managers, and employees who work on site receive training to identify sex trafficking in their establishments and know how to respond;
    • Initial training for existing owners, managers, and staff is required by November 28, 2018 and then on a yearly basis after that;
    • New employees must receive this training within 90 days of hire;
    • See the statute for some exceptions. 
  • Post and maintain the approved poster with information on sex trafficking in hotels. The poster must be placed in a location visible to all staff.
  • Conduct an ongoing awareness campaign for employees.

Hotels and motels are key players in addressing sex trafficking in all Minnesota communities. The Minnesota Department of Health has provided the tools and resources needed for hotels and motels to comply with this requirement. Together, we can work to prevent sex trafficking. 

The Minnesota Hotel Training Package

The Sex Trafficking Awareness and Response Training for the Minnesota Lodging Industry, developed by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Safe Harbor Program, provides the essential information about recognizing and reporting sex trafficking. The training will take 40 minutes or less to complete. 

The Minnesota Hotel Training Package includes the following required items: 

  • Managers/Owners Training Toolkit
  • Minnesota Training Virtual Presentation  – A three part video with guided practices*
  • Training Companion Guide for All Trainees
  • Poster Set: back of house (required to post); housekeeping/maintenance/room service; front desk/concierge/lobby; restaurant/bar; security

* The majority of this training package is required for all hotels and motels in Minnesota. There are very few exceptions for only parts of the package. Please see Instructions within Managers/Owners Training Toolkit to see if an exception applies to you.

Access Training Materials for Managers and Owners

To access the required training materials, please complete and submit the Minnesota Hotel Training Package Request Form. The request form will ask you a few questions about your hotel or motel and your role. Once you have completed the questions, you will be given a link to the Minnesota Hotel Training Package site where you can download the materials listed above, along with instructions on providing the training. 

Frequently Asked Questions

To view Frequently Asked Questions, click the link below.

Q: I already took training on sex trafficking. Do I still need to take this training?

A: Yes. You still need to complete the Sex Trafficking Prevention and Response Training for the Minnesota Lodging Industry. This training has been specially developed to address sex trafficking within Minnesota and meets the requirements of the Sex Trafficking Prevention Training legislation.

Q: Are resorts, bed and breakfasts, vacation shares or Airbnb required to provide the training?

A: Only if they hold a hotel license.

Q: Does the law apply to tribal nations?

A: No; however, MDH encourages tribal nations to provide the training and use the MDH materials.

Q: Are any employees exempt under the law from the training?

A: Yes, exempt employees include:

  1. Employees under 16 unless they clean rooms
  2. Employees who work exclusively in a restaurant, providing catering services, or both
  3. No direct contact with guests or guest rooms

However, MDH encourages training for all employees.

Q: What if I'm still not sure if I hold the correct license?

A: Contact the Food, Pool and Lodging section at MDH: or 651-201-4500.

Q: Does MDH charge a fee for the mandatory training package?

A: No.

Q: Does MDH assist with any costs of compliance with the law?

A: Aside from providing the free training package, MDH does not provide assistance such as with printing posters. The law states that licensees are required to pay the costs of compliance.

Q: Are the training materials available in other languages?

A: We are currently working on translating the materials to other languages. If you have an immediate need for materials in other languages, please contact Caroline Palmer ( or Beatriz Menanteau (

Q: Do I have to give this training every year?

A: Yes. It is an annual requirement tied to licensure. MDH will offer an updated package each year on November 1.

Q: Can we replace the MDH training with our own training materials?

A: No, it can't be replaced. In limited situations, a part may be replaced, but only with prior review and approval by MDH. MDH will provide an approval letter. However, the Minnesota-specific aspects of the MDH training must be delivered to employees.

Q: If a hotel owner, operator or manager does not have contact with guests, are they required to take the training?

A: Yes, they are still required to take the training. The exemptions in the laws for employees who do not have contact with guests do not apply to owners, operators and managers.

Q: Does the law exempt seasonal employees?

A: The law does not explicitly exempt seasonal employees, so if the licensed facility is covered the employees must receive the training. If seasonal employees are currently employed and working, they should be trained by the 2018 deadline of November 28. If they are seasonal employees who are not currently working, they should be trained within 90 days of when they start working again.

Q: If an employee is temporary and only employed for two months, do they still need to complete the training, since their employment is less than 90 days?

A: Technically, no, but MDH encourages the training of all employees, particularly since other staff who are employed on a more permanent basis will need to be trained anyway.

Q: Are contracted workers, i.e., contracted cleaners, subject to the training?

A: Yes, they are still required to take the training.

Q: Are whole house vacation rental properties subject to compliance with the statute?

A: Yes. MDH licenses whole home vacation rentals as hotels/motels in most cases, subjecting them to following the statute.

Q: Once training of employees is completed, what is the next step?

A: Fill out a roster of names for all employees who completed the training, along with the date of completion. Simply keep this roster on file for your next inspection. You do not need to send the roster to MDH to check compliance.


Contact Caroline Palmer at or 651-201-5492 or Beatriz Menanteau at or 651-201-4154.

Updated Wednesday, 27-Mar-2019 10:39:31 CDT