Woman working in a hotel kitchen
Area of action

Human rights

Every business, wherever they operate, has a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and have processes in place to prevent or mitigate human rights issues

Our impact

Human rights and the hospitality industry

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled. The travel and tourism industry (including hospitality) supports 330 million workers worldwide.1 It has a responsibility to ensure that its employees and their human rights are being respected.

The hospitality industry can be at risk of potential human rights issues. Hotel companies may outsource services, such as cleaning, maintenance and security. The industry also operates under a variety of different business models from owner-operators to franchises. This means that companies can have less control over the employment practices of individual properties or supply chains. Additionally, there is the risk of human trafficking for sexual exploitation taking place in hotels.

It is essential that the industry has processes in place to prevent or mitigate human rights risks. Addressing human rights issues is a complex process and the industry needs to work together to support the human rights of their colleagues, the workers in the organisations they do business with, and the communities in which they operate.

We commit to raise awareness of human rights risks, embed human rights into corporate governance, and address risks arising in the labour supply chain and during construction.
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Principles on forced labour

Principles on Forced Labour

Our set of principles for the hospitality industry addressing the primary drivers of forced labour.

Background to our work on human rights

We consulted with our members, and stakeholders outside the industry, to identify the areas with the highest potential for human rights risks in the hotel industry. This enabled us to determine where collaboration would be most effective to strengthen the industry’s ability to identify and address human rights risks. We identified the following areas:

  • risks of labour abuse and modern slavery throughout the labour supply chain
  • risks related to the welfare of construction workers building new hotels
  • risks of human trafficking, including sexual exploitation, taking place in hotels

This is not representative of all human rights issues in the hospitality industry, but aims to focus on areas where collaboration is essential. Individual hotel companies may also have their own human rights risk mapping and strategy.

What we are doing

Convening the industry
  • Our members commit to embed human rights into their corporate governance and continue to engage stakeholders including employees, developers, owners, franchisees, suppliers and guests.
  • Our human rights working group brings members together to share best practice and develop resources to help mitigate human rights issues.
  • Our youth employment programme is helping hotels to re-integrate survivors of human trafficking through training opportunities.
Developing practical tools and resources
Building a movement
  • Supported by our members, we are working to unite the hotel industry in a shared commitment to uphold our Principles on Forced Labour.
Forming global partnerships
  • We recognise that eliminating human rights issues is a complex process that can only be fully realised by constructive partnering with governments, NGOs, communities and businesses.
  • We are working in partnership with leading global organisations and human rights specialists to advance responsible recruitment practices across the hospitality industry.
  • We are also working with other industries including consumer goods, electronics and construction to address shared human rights risks and increase the demand for responsible recruitment.
  • We are partnering with the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery to support survivors of human trafficking to access employment within the hospitality industry through our youth employment programme.
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Hotel housekeeper making a bed

Promoting ethical recruitment in the hotel and tourism industry

Working in collaboration with International Organization for Migration on promoting ethical recruitment, supporting good practice and making international recruitment fair for everyone.

Human rights resources

See our resources

View our resources index

We have free practical training and resources to support hotels to prevent or mitigate human rights risks.

View our guidance

Guide to our resources

Discover how to use our resources for support with awareness, implementation and best practice examples.

Partner with us

Become a partner

We work with hospitality companies, governmental institutions, non-profits and other industries to mitigate human rights risks across the global hospitality sector.