Without our partners, BEST could not have created the level of change necessary to help prevent sex trafficking in our community. The BEST Board of Directors awarded the following organizations and people for their outstanding work:
2014 BEST LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR AN ORGANIZATION:
WASHINGTON LODGING ASSOCIATION
Under the management of President and CEO Jan Simon, the Washington Lodging Association(WLA) demonstrated outstanding leadership within the lodging industry in Washington and in the US.
To our knowledge, WLA was the only statewide lodging association in the country to begin addressing human trafficking in 2012. The partnership and bold leadership of the WLA and their members has resulted in raised awareness and training for hundreds of hoteliers throughout the state. The Board of Directors and members of the WLA have demonstrated outstanding compassion by supporting an increase in victim identification and recovery. For example, Shawna Pitts, General Manager of Country Inn and Suites by Carlson, and hotelier Michael Pitstick provided expertise and direction to the industry based on the innovative program by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
As a result, visitors to Washington state can rest assured that our participating hotels are creating environments that are safer for staff and guest alike, and more comfortable and friendlier for visitors to Washington state.
2014 BEST LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR A BUSINESS:
SILVER CLOUD INNS & HOTELS
When Cindy Fanning and Bill Weise, of Silver Cloud Inns and Hotels, first heard that 300-500 children were being prostituted each night in greater Seattle, the news came as a surprise. It hit close to home when they learned that at least 63% of these crimes involve hotels.
Just like any major city in the US, Seattle is facing a hidden epidemic of human trafficking crimes. Unlike most major US cities, Seattle hoteliers are working together to prevent this crime from taking place in their community. Silver Cloud demonstrated outstanding leadership within the industry, by inspiring their peers to tackle this issue, by providing expertise on hotels safety and operations, and by informing and training hoteliers across Washington.
2014 BEST LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR AN INDIVIDUAL:
SANDIP SOLI, J.D.
In developing the Inhospitable to Human Trafficking project with the lodging industry, legal issues proved a serious concern for participating hoteliers. While hotel managers feel compassion toward victims they ultimately have businesses to run and privacy laws that govern hospitality businesses. These complexities needed to be addressed.
Sandip Soli, an attorney at Cairncross & Hempelmann and member of WLA, is the recipient of our leadership award for an individual. Sandip provided numerous hours of pro-bono legal counsel for the development of best practices and the training of hoteliers throughout the state. Thanks to Sandip’s expertise, Washington hoteliers now know how to respond to situations appropriately—within the bounds of the law and with full protection of their properties and assets.
2014 BEST PHILANTHROPIC LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR AN ORGANIZATION:
StolenYouth is an organization created by a passionate and committed group of women who have come together to support commercially exploited children through advocacy and fundraising. In 2013 and 2014, StolenYouth proved substantial grants to BEST to scale our hotel project to 4 counties in Washington, provide a second annual training in King County, and expand our resources and training for hotel staff. StolenYouth also strengthened BEST’s impact by forming a coalition of their four grantees that are working in collaboration to comprehensively address sex trafficking in our region. Finally, through our work in partnership, the women of StolenYouth have become friends and mentors who inspire us to continue our work.
A special thanks to Vice President and Founding Member, Paula Clapp, who received this award on behalf of StolenYouth.
2014 BEST LEADERSHIP HONORABLE MENTION FOR AN ORGANIZATION:
LUKE 12:48 FOUNDATION
Under the leadership of Heather Tuininga, Luke 12:48 Foundation was the first foundation in our region to recognize the importance of involving businesses in trafficking prevention efforts. Heather brought together a group of leaders to strategize involving businesses in trafficking prevention efforts. Out of that conversation, BEST was born. Luke 12:48 gave BEST substantial seed funding to start and build an effective organization and pilot new interventions. This seed funding is directly responsible for the creation of the Inhospitable to Human Trafficking project, which has proven so successful.
2014 BEST PHILANTHROPIC LEADERSHIP AWARD FOR AN INDIVIDUAL:
The final award goes to an individual who prefers to remain anonymous. This person has been a constant support to our Executive Director and to BEST. She provided seed money for the first hotel project and training in King County. She hosted BEST for numerous lunch meetings with friends who have become partners in our work to prevent trafficking. She has provided valuable input every step of the way and become a treasured friend. Our board and staff are extremely grateful for her incredible support.