CORALVILLE, IA (KCRG-TV9)-- Employees at local hotels and motels are learning how to spot the signs of human trafficking. The anti-human trafficking group, Chains Interrupted, is training those employees. So far, they've trained hospitality workers at 10 hotels and motels in Eastern Iowa.
They says 70% of human trafficking incidents happen inside of hotels and motels. The training sessions last about 45 minutes. Workers watch slide shows learning about human trafficking and how to identify it. Some of those signs are people checking out multiple rooms, a lot of people coming and going into the rooms, and items in a room like several wigs, condoms, large amounts of cash, and sex toys.
Teresa Davidson with Chains Interrupted says of human trafficking inside of hotels and motels, “It's a very common thought that it's just at the lower end hotels, the cheaper ones. But that's not true. And that's one of the messages that's really important for us to get across is that this can occur at any hotel. There have been stings at very nice hotels with water parks in them. Family center hotels and motels."
Workers are trained to call police to do a welfare check if they spot any suspicious activity, as well as save suspicious items from the room. They tell them it's too dangerous to try to go inside the room to try to save a person.
Hospitality Management group Serve 20:28 runs three hotels in Coralville. They are Home 2, Homeward Suites, and Comfort Suites in Coralville. About 130 of their workers took part in the training. Manager Gregory Waddle hopes other hotels and motels follow their lead.
He says, "I think it's important that you know all the hotels and motels have this training to confront this, to stop this, because you know even if it's not something that has ever happened at your hotel, I don't think that any hotel is immune to it possibly happening."
Waddle says Serve 20:28 hasn't had any issues with human trafficking, they just want to be prepared. At the end of this month, Chains Interrupted will reward trained locations with certificates so people know they won't tolerate human trafficking.