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Safeguarding children from exploitation in hotels

Safeguarding children from exploitation in hotels

Hotels can be hotspots for exploiting and trafficking children, no hotel is exempt from this risk so it is important for all hotels to take reasonable steps to protect children this this harm.  All hotels should have robust safeguarding policies in place so their staff adhere to the recommended safeguarding steps (see below) to protect children.  Failing to do this puts children at risk and premises can become an easy target for criminals to use.  Hotels can also suffer financial and reputational damage or run the risk of the revocation of their license under a Closure Order or prosecution via other child exploitation and trafficking orders.  Hospitality premises should also familiarise themselves with Chapter 29 on Licensing under the SET Procedures.

Some children have disclosed being abused in hotels and some hotels have spotted the signs and informed the police about exploitation activity.  When this happens, children can be rescued, freed from exploitation and evidence gathered to prosecute abusers preventing further victims being exploited.  Hotels can be used by county line networks and by those grooming or exploiting children and vulnerable adults.

Essex Police and local councils routinely test hotel safeguarding responses to ensure the hotel staff have an awareness of safeguarding children from exploitation and take reasonable steps to protect children from this harm.  Those who are deemed to be failing to do so could risk having a Closure Notice (Section 76 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014) placed on their business and/or an application made to court for a Closure Order (close the premises for up to three months), or a criminal prosecution against an individual staff member under exploitation and trafficking legislation. 

Licenses could also be reviewed if premises are suspected of being used for child exploitation under Section 51 of the Licensing Act 2003.  Licensed premises have a duty to protect children on their premises from harm, including child sexual exploitation (revised guidance was added to the act in 2015) so licenses could be revoked if your premises are failing to protect children from exploitation.

Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Partnership, in conjunction with Essex and Southend Children Partnerships and Essex Police, have created this webpage in order to support our business partners to drive out exploitation and trafficking from their hospitality premises to ensure they are safe and reputable premises.  It is essential that all staff in hospitality are aware of the signs of exploitation and how to intervene and report this activity.  This includes receptionists, night porters, housekeeping, duty managers, kitchen and catering staff.  

We recommend your premises creates clear policies to identify, record and respond to exploitation.  We have included a Safeguarding Checklist to assist you with this.


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