Research seminar

“No room for trafficking” – CSR and blue washing in the hotel industry

Hotels have been pointed out as vulnerable to the misuse of their hospitality in terms of sex traffickers using the facilities for illegal prostitution.

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Date: , kl 13:00 - 14:00
Location: Campus Borlänge / Zoom
Locale: Eva Ekeblad
Eleonora Rossi, Lecturer Tourism
Maria Thulemark, PhD

Many hotels put up a fight against these criminal acts yet face problems of not being in a powerful enough position to solve this issue alone. This paper focuses on the role of three stakeholder groups (booking channels; organizations and nearby hotels) in hotel’s fight against sex trafficking. The paper will demonstrate how each stakeholder group holds its own power and should cooperate to fight the issue. The paper is based on empirical studies with hotel employees in Sweden and the Netherlands, two countries that hold different prostitution and sex trafficking models.

By using CSR as a lens to understand the relationships between the stakeholder groups, we highlight issues of “blue washing”, i.e. corporations overstating themselves as socially responsible in terms of slavery and trafficking, suggesting future research must have actionable outcomes. The paper reiterates the necessity for actionable outcomes that enable hotel employees and the tourism industry more generally to work with external stakeholders to find viable solutions to help stop sex trafficking.  


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