By David DeMoss
Unfortunately, human trafficking is still a huge issue in the world today. However, hotels are trying to do their part in minimizing it as much as possible, and using mobile keys may be one of the answers to doing so. With the use of mobile keys, hotels can restrict guests’ abilities to access rooms anonymously, which will greatly hurt traffickers’ businesses. In addition, guests will have to provide their phone number to hotels when using a mobile key, giving hotels their personal information as well as a record of every time a unique mobile number enters the room. Mobile keys also require the use of an app, which would not be accessible through a flip phone – a popular choice for those committing illegal activities. More details from Brian Shedd, below.
In 2019, there is still an active trade in human beings. According to the International Labour Organization, 40.3 million people are victims of human trafficking globally. Human trafficking is one of the largest issues facing humanity today.
Hotels across the United States are being used to shuffle children in and out of rooms for sexual exploitation and hoteliers are increasingly under scrutiny to do something about it. Hotels and motels are a common venue for human trafficking due to the ease of access for buyers, the ability to pay in cash and maintain secrecy through finances, and the lack of facility maintenance or upkeep expenses. According to the Department of Homeland Security, traffickers often take advantage of the privacy and anonymity accessible through the hospitality industry.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) recently launched an industry-wide ‘No Room for Trafficking’ campaign to continue raising awareness among hoteliers and staff about the problem and help educate them to spot signs of human trafficking in their properties.
Hoteliers can take another step to stop traffickers from using their property as well as prevent them from targeting the hotel in the first place. Hotels can use mobile keyless entry to remove the ability for guests to access rooms in an anonymous fashion, depriving traffickers of the life blood of their operation. Below are three ways mobile keyless entry can help hotels fight human trafficking.
Capturing Unique Phone Numbers
Mobile key requires a smartphone and unique phone number that is captured by a front-desk platform or property management system for a digital key to be created and sent to the guest. Individuals intent on participating in illegal activity are reticent to give anyone their mobile number that could be used to place them at the scene.
Creating a Record of Entry
Mobile key provides a record of entry. Every time the room is accessed, the unique mobile number is captured and reported back to the front-desk platform.
Giving Hotels Visibility
Mobile key gives the hotel maximum control over guestroom access and visibility into exactly who is coming and going in the rooms. Although many pre-paid flip phones now have Bluetooth capability, they are not capable of using an app for guestroom access. This eliminates an important workaround for bad actors who use these phones to maintain their anonymity.
Mobile keyless entry represents one area of hotel technology where the needs of hoteliers, desires of guests, and prevention of trafficking are in perfect alignment.