One in four incidents of prostitution occurs at Swedish hotels, and many of those individuals who are forced to prostitute themselves are also victims of trafficking. Many hotels have been actively working with the issue by informing and training their staff in how to identify and report suspected prostitution and trafficking. That in itself is a very important first step in tackling criminality. Anti-trafficking organisations, the police and international research all point to the responsibility that lies with hotel staff to act.
"In this study," explains Maria Thulemark, Associate Senior Lecturer, who will head the project, "we want to address how employees and employers within the hotel industry view trafficking and the strategies they have to deal with it and manage the issue. We also want to find out what information is required within the industry. Over recent years, the level of understanding within the hotel industry has increased, generally speaking, yet it remains low when it comes to the strategies staff need to adopt and how they can and should act, as well as their experiences when it comes to the work environment in relation to trafficking."
Work environment and attractive employment are important aspects as companies compete to employ good staff. They need to demonstrate responsibility and sustainability. The occurrence of trafficking at the workplace can affect the work environment and the attractiveness of tourism businesses as places of employment.
"This is why it is hugely relevant that we gain the perspective of employees when it comes to the question of trafficking and prostitution, and demonstrate to the business world and others that this is not only a crime that needs to be reported but that it also affects individuals indirectly by virtue of the fact that they work within the hotel industry. Employers need to take responsibility in their role to combat trafficking as well as responsibility for the work environment in terms of their staff's psychosocial vulnerability," continues Maria Thulemark.
The project will run in 2020 and 2021. Working witih Associate Senior Lecturer Maria Thulemark will be Susanna Heldt Cassel, Professor in Human Geography at Dalarna University.
The aim of The Research and Development Fund of the Swedish Tourism and Hospitality Industry (Besöksnäringens Forsknings- och Utvecklingsfond) is to promote scientific research, innovation and development projects that benefit companies and employees from the Swedish tourism and hospitality industry.
Read more about Besöksnäringens Forsknings- och Utvecklingsfond