NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Connecticut and its partners have taken the opportunity to build public awareness and the support necessary to end it.
Connecticut has partnered with public and private organizations, including Grace Farms in New Canaan, to train workers in the state's hospitality industry, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced last week.
The training will be to help staff identify possible warning signs of human trafficking in their establishments and what to do if they have concerns a person may be trafficked.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers compel victims to engage in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will.
The state partnerships include the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, Marriott International, Quinnipiac University School of Law, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Connecticut Lodging Association, and Grace Farms Foundation.
Grace Farms Foundation supports initiatives in the areas of nature, arts, justice, community, and faith, and encourages participation on a local, national, and global level, says the website.
The training program was developed specifically for hotel employees by Marriott International and ECPAT-USA, with support from Polaris, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to combat and prevent modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
This training will be being made available to all employees in the state’s hospitality industry, as required under Public Act 16-71, Gov. Malloy signed into law last year.
“Human trafficking isn’t just happening abroad – it is an issue we face right here at home in Connecticut. It is a problem that shocks the conscience, and that is exactly why I have proposed and supported legislation in recent years that strengthens protections for victims of human trafficking, gives law enforcement the tools needed to bring perpetrators to justice, and helps raise public awareness,” he said.
“As we gain greater awareness that this is happening here in Connecticut, we will become more attuned to identifying and helping the victims and also more effective at forming the partnerships that can help us prevent more victims in the future,” DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said.
“Sadly, human trafficking is a dark reality for countless men, women, and children each year. This training is a valuable opportunity to help Connecticut’s hospitality industry identify the signs and symptoms of this unspeakable crime to help prevent further victimization,” DESPP Commissioner Dora Schriro said.
“Grace Farms Foundation is honored to be a part of this inspiring public-private collaboration dedicated to educating Connecticut’s lodging institutions about the scourge of modern day slavery,” said Krishna Patel, Grace Farms Foundation Justice Initiative Director and General Counsel.
“Under a banner of shared responsibility and collaboration, expanded partnerships and the implementation of prevention and enforcement strategies, we can join forces with our community to eradicate the serious problem of human trafficking.”