Hotels to get anti-trafficking advice

21 September 2011

by Ed Thornton

CHURCH investment bodies have requested meetings with UK-listed hotel companies to advise them how to spot victims of human trafficking in their hotels during the Olympics next year.

A statement from the Church Investors Group (CIG) — whose members include investing bodies from the Church of England, the Methodist Church, and the Roman Catholic Church — said that it was working with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility “to reduce corporate complicity in human trafficking and modern-day slavery”.

The CIG had requested meetings with the InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns Holiday Inn hotels, and Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn hotels, the statement said.

The investors are adopting a similar approach to that used at the World Cup in South Africa last year. It included encouraging hotel chains to train staff in identifying potential victims of trafficking, and sharing information with police and anti-trafficking organisations.

The chairman of CIG, Richard Nunn, said: “It is important we use our voice as investors to hold com­panies to high ethical standards.”

The Bishop of Pretoria, the Rt Revd Jo Seoka, who attended the meeting in Paris as a representative of the South African Church In­vestors Group, said: “I recall the important role played by church investors in the fight against apart­heid, and look forward to their involvement in creating a fairer society in the future.”

Earlier this year, the CIG and Christian Brothers Investment Services, a fund manager based in the United States which invests on behalf of Roman Catholic institu­tions, pressed BP to show that it was taking safety and environmental issues more seriously after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. The groups gave the company until October to reassure them that it is “systematically addressing opera­tional and strategic risks”.

If, by then, they are not satisfied that BP is adequately addressing the risks, they will file a “shareholder resolution” at the company’s 2012 annual general meeting.

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