AHLA Foundation Launches No Room for Trafficking Advisory Council; Announces Survivor Fund Grantees
The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Foundation has established the No Room for Trafficking (NRFT) Advisory Council as part of its No Room for Trafficking program, which works to prevent human trafficking and support survivors.
NRFT Advisory Council efforts include the development and oversight of the NRFT Survivor Fund, which provides community-based organizations with the resources they need to engage and support the survivors of human trafficking.
Council members will help champion and shape the hotel industry’s unified efforts to support human trafficking survivors with critical resources on their path toward empowerment and self-sufficiency, while uniting and inspiring the industry in the continued fight against trafficking, according to AHLA officials.
“The esteemed group of leaders we’ve assembled as part of our inaugural NRFT Advisory Council underscores the hotel industry’s deep commitment to fighting human trafficking,” said AHLA Foundation President Anna Blue. “With their leadership alongside AHLA and the AHLA Foundation’s steadfast commitment to this effort, we will continue to work across our industry on critically important human trafficking prevention efforts.”
NRFT Advisory Council members include the following top industry leaders:
- Co-chair: Farah Bhayani, general counsel and chief compliance officer, G6 Hospitality
- Co-chair: Joan Bottarini, CFO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Jay Caiafa, COO, The Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts
- Paul Cash, general counsel and chief compliance officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
- George Limbert, president, Red Roof Franchising
- Katherine Lugar, executive vice president of corporate affairs, Hilton
- John Murray, president and CEO, Sonesta International Hotels
- Mitch Patel, president and CEO, Vision Hospitality Group
- Kelly Poling, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Extended Stay America
- Tricia Primrose, executive vice president and chief global communications and public affairs officer, Marriott International
- Marsha Ray, senior vice president of operations, Aimbridge Hospitality
- Ben Seidel, president and CEO, Real Hospitality Group
- Simone Wu, senior vice president and general counsel, Choice Hotels International
AHLA Foundation’s NRFT program has supported free anti-trafficking training for hundreds of thousands of hotel employees since 2020 through a partnership with ECPAT-USA while building awareness of this issue across the industry and its stakeholders.
Additionally, in 2022, AHLA Foundation announced expanded efforts to support trafficking survivors through the industry’s first-ever Survivor Fund, which has raised $3.4 million since its inception. AHLA Foundation will match NRFT Survivor Fund contributions up to $5 million as part of its continued commitment to combatting this issue, with an overall goal of $10 million in total contributions by the end of 2023.
The AHLA Foundation recently announced $500,000 in inaugural NRFT Survivor Fund grants to four community-based organizations that serve human trafficking survivors.
The 2023 NRFT Survivor Fund grant recipients will provide and promote resources to build survivors’ stability and self-sufficiency — from childcare and housing to transportation, career training and employment opportunities.
The 2023 grantees include:
- Safe House Project, Emergency Services Program
- Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), Safe Jobs Collaborative
- Restore NYC, Inc., Economic Empowerment Program
- University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom, and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, “Future in Training” Hospitality Job Readiness Program
The NRFT Survivor Fund, a first for the hospitality sector, has grown to $3.4 million since its launch last year.
“The No Room for Trafficking Survivor Fund shows unprecedented alignment by the industry in the fight against trafficking and provides crucial support to survivors on their path forward,” Blue said. “By investing in organizations leading on the front lines of survivor support, the collective impact of the industry can help break the trafficking cycle and make a positive difference in the lives of survivors.”
The grants were announced as part of the NRFT Summit at the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The event highlighted the hotel industry’s critical efforts in the fight against human trafficking and featured a keynote address from Cindy Dyer, United States ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking.