How to help stop human trafficking
Airbnb has partnered with Polaris to strengthen our community’s understanding of human trafficking by helping you learn about red flags and how to respond if you encounter a potential human trafficking situation in your listing. With this in mind, we strongly encourage you to report suspected cases of human trafficking to the Polaris-operated National Human Trafficking Hotline. If you are outside of the U.S., you can find organizations across the globe that address the issue of human trafficking in the Global Modern Slavery Directory (GMSD).
Defining human trafficking
The definition of human trafficking can differ depending on which country you are in, but most countries use guidelines provided by the United Nations, which consist of three core elements:
- The act of human trafficking: the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons.
- The means of human trafficking: the threat or use of force, abduction, fraud, coercion, or abuse of power.
- The purpose of human trafficking: exploitation including the exploitation of sex work of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of organs.
Signs to look out for
Trafficking victims are often not in a position to report on their situation, so as a Host, it is important to understand red flags that indicate human trafficking could be occurring. The following indicators are not exhaustive, and when present alone might not indicate trafficking:
Signals indicating the presence of force, fraud, or coercion:
- Threats of or use of physical force or violence
- Use of physical restraints
- Physical injuries
- Person is compelled to take a job under different conditions than those that were originally agreed upon during recruitment
- Person cannot leave freely and has no control over their money and personal belongings
- Person is made to consume drugs or alcohol by another person
Signals indicating exploitation:
- Forced labor:
- Worker is a child
- Signs of poor hygiene, malnourishment or fatigue
- Worker lodged by employer in inappropriate space (no privacy/makeshift sleeping arrangement)
- Worker not allowed to take appropriate breaks
- Worker has dangerous or unhealthy working conditions
- Sex trafficking:
- Listing address is referenced in online ads for commercial sex
- Reports of frequent unauthorized guests at varying hours.
- Excessive amounts of sex paraphernalia in listing
- Presence of commercial hardware set up for a video/photo shoot
Globally, 40.3 million people are in modern slavery. Of these, over 4 million are potentially in sex trafficking situations, with women and girls disproportionately affected. Human trafficking remains a highly underreported crime, and the underground nature makes the prevalence of human trafficking difficult to determine. While human trafficking spans all demographics, there are some particular risk factors like homelessness, displacement after a natural disaster or conflict, domestic violence, sexual assault, and undocumented or temporary status that make people particularly vulnerable to exploitation.
What to do if you encounter a potential human trafficking situation
You can help stop human trafficking. If you encounter a situation at your listing that could potentially be human trafficking, you can report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline operated Polaris by calling 1-888-373-7888, texting “BeFree” to 233733, or by live chat at humantraffickinghotline.org/chat. The hotline is available 24/7, toll-free, confidential, and in 200+ languages. The hotline is able to assist with international situations, but you can also contact local organizations through the Global Modern Slavery Directory (GMSD). The Polaris-operated Global Modern Slavery Directory (GMSD) is an interactive, publicly searchable map and database of organizations and agencies across the globe that address the issue of modern slavery and human trafficking. The GMSD includes government agencies, law enforcement agencies, advocacy groups, and organizations that may assist victims of trafficking while addressing related issues, such as labor exploitation, child protection, or domestic violence.
You can also report a potential human trafficking incident to Airbnb. Airbnb’s Safety Center is an in-app one-stop safety hub with key resources. You can reach Airbnb’s Urgent Support Line through the Safety Center, as well as local emergency services wherever you are in the world.
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