Throughout my years organizing conferences, I’ve come to recognize two essential truths:
1. A significant amount of meaningful conversation and learning takes place in conference hallways, rather than within the actual meeting rooms.
2. The true impact of a conference is often unknown until someone shares how they applied the lessons they learned during the event.
These insights have held true since the inception of MPAHT, and I am grateful to those who have entrusted me with their stories, demonstrated a willingness to learn about human trafficking, and engaged in open discussions on the subject while maintaining confidentiality.
One mother shared her daughter’s experience applying for a typical student job at a restaurant. Due to their awareness of our work and the daughter’s instincts, both mother and daughter decided it would be best for her to withdraw her application – a true testament to trusting one’s gut feeling.
In another instance, an industry member witnessed something suspicious at an airport. Thanks to MPAHT’s efforts, she knew to report her observations to the Canadian Hotline (1-833-900-1010), where they were taken seriously. Although she may never know the outcome, she understood the potential impact of her report.
Two more stories emerged from MPAHT’s CMEE booth in Toronto this past August. One individual reported suspicious activity after leaving a conference where I had presented on relevant warning signs. Meanwhile, a former hospitality student expressed gratitude for a presentation I gave prior to the pandemic and has since made sure she and her coworkers are adequately trained – showcasing hope for our industry’s future.
Recently, an industry member who has been with us since the beginning contacted me with concerns that her niece might be in a potentially exploitative relationship, sharing signs that hinted towards human trafficking. After observing the couple during lunch and assessing their interactions carefully, the concerned aunt ultimately concluded it did not seem like trafficking but assured her niece she could reach out anytime.
If you have a story to share anonymously, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The more we know, the better equipped we are to combat human trafficking.
Thank you all for taking part in this journey.
Until next time,
Sandy Biback, Founder