Created by the Shiva Foundation – a corporate, anti-trafficking foundation funded by the group ‒ the new Anti-Trafficking Charter has been piloted throughout the London hotel. It includes testing methods designed to help hotel staff spot and report concerns, and understand potential risks in operational supply chains.
The charter – which will be rolled out across the group’s hotels once it has been officially introduced ‒ will also see anti-trafficking messages displayed on guests’ hotel televisions, to help guests spot potential issues and improve their understanding of the risks.
Similarly, the roundtable event on 2 November is set to welcome hoteliers to discuss the issues surrounding slavery, and ‒ supported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation – will form part of the charter’s presentation at the latter’s Trust Women conference on 30 November.
The DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in question has never had any reported problems with modern slavery, but is seeking to become an example of a culture of transparency and accountability.
On a wider scale, the Shiva Foundation is aiming to begin a trend across the hospitality industry, including a commitment among businesses to tackle the problem, and a signposting to staff that being forced to work against their will is illegal.
The foundation has highlighted the story of a Bangladeshi man, who became enslaved in a remote Scottish hotel and who appeared to have no idea that his treatment was illegal nor any idea of how to report the mistreatment without risking deportation.
It has also stated that an estimated 11,700 people were living in modern slavery conditions in the UK, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s calling the problem “the great human rights issue of our time”.
Rishi Sachdev, founder and director of Shiva Foundation and Shiva Hotels, said: “It is important that those in the hotel and hospitality industry work together to combat modern slavery. Real change takes commitment and collaboration. By sharing knowledge and expertise we can ensure that best practice is spread more quickly, helping ensure the safety and livelihoods of those who may be at risk.”
“Working towards an industry-wide model to help tackle modern slavery will be a major step and we look forward to discussing how to achieve this at the upcoming roundtable.”
Shiva Hotels was founded in 2003, and now develops and manages several key London hotels as part of its 10-strong portfolio, including the under-development Millennium Bridge House, the Ramada ExCel Docklands, the Hilton at Heathrow Terminal 5, and Hampton by Hilton in Waterloo, alongside the Monkbar in York - its only current site outside the capital.
The Shiva Foundation was established in 2012 by Sachdev and his wife Meenal.