Area hotels train employees to spot signs of human trafficking

DAVENPORT - An Iowa statewide initiative to combat sex trafficking at Iowa’s hotels and motels was announced by state and community officials on September 19, 2017.

The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery is partnering with the Nebraska Coalition on Human Trafficking to combat sex trafficking.

Braking Traffik has been working with hotels and motels for the past four years to train employees on spotting the signs.

"It doesn't mean that a hotel is run poorly, it doesn't mean that it's a seedy hotel or a motel, these things are going to happen because of who the buyer is," said Deanna Jensen-Valliere, Advisory Council Member of Braking Traffik.

The general manager and employees at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Davenport went through the training about a year ago and know what some possible signs to look for.

"Needing multiple amenities, lots and lots and lots of shampoos, lots of towels, lots of different things that if they're only registered for one person it doesn't make a lot of sense," said Kristin Meyer, General Manager of Hampton Inn and Suites.

Another sign is guests who may be very specific about knowing where the exits are.

"They're probably looking for something where they can bring someone down a staircase and out a door and never be seen," said Meyer.

So far the hotel has not had to deal with any human trafficking issues.

"We hope that it's never gonna walk in our doors, if it does, we want to know that we can spot the signs," said Meyer.

If it does happen, they hope to be able to help save someone's life.

In 2017, Braking Traffik has trained 5,500 people to spot the signs.