BEST Executive Director and Founder, Dr. Mar Brettmann, was honored to be invited to speak at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association annual convention in San Antonio, TX this month. With over six thousand people in attendance, this years’ conference was the largest in AAHOA’s history.
Dr. Brettmann presented in an education session, "Don't Give Danger a Keycard to Your Property," that provided tips to hotels to increase their safety. She was able to share how human trafficking is can be risky for hotels. “Human trafficking can bring all sorts of criminal activity into hotels,” explained Dr. Brettmann, “including violent crimes that pose safety risks to guests and staff. It’s a smart business decision to prevent these crimes from occurring.”
Another panelist, Charles Witherspoon, a former law enforcement officer, advised hotels on the most important step they can take to protect their properties: “build relationships with your local police and public officials.” In Charlotte, NC, he explained, leaders from AAHOA approached him, asking for his help to strengthen these relationships so he brought together hoteliers and public officials for hard conversations about the serious challenges faced by hoteliers who are working to keep their properties crime-free. Charlotte has found a way to creatively address challenges like slow responses to 911 calls. In addition, Charlotte has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of hotel properties that have been seized by police.
The 2017 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show was a great experience for Dr. Brettmann. “Of course, I loved being part of the education of AAHOA members,” she said, “but my favorite part was connecting with friends like Arvind Patel and Alkesh Patel.” Thanks to support from Arvind and Alkesh, AAHOA sponsored BEST in creating online human trafficking training modules for hoteliers that are easily accessible and affordable. AAHOA has also partnered with BEST to help spread awareness among their members.
In the coming year, Dr. Brettmann will continue working with AAHOA to raise awareness through social media and regional meetings across the US. “We are excited to continue the partnership and open the eyes and the hearts of hotel owners and staff across the US—to help victims of human trafficking.”
If you would like more information on training your hotel staff to recognize the sign of human trafficking, visit the Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking website.