US: Airbnb has announced a renewed effort to combat human trafficking within its platform.
The company is expanding its commitment with Polaris, an organisation which combats human trafficking in the US, that it first made in 2018.
Nancy McGuire Choi, CEO of Polaris, said: “Human trafficking is an incredibly complex issue that does not lend itself to quick and easy answers. The depth of Airbnb’s commitment is exactly what is necessary to make a real dent in the scope of this global tragedy.”
Airbnb has committed to creating a virtual and in-person training course alongside Polaris to help hosts identify and report signs of human trafficking they may run into. It has also announced an update to its employee training for global hubs and local workers to do the same.
Initiatives the company has tackled in the past include:
- Establishing a robust training curriculum for Airbnb’s customer support agents and crisis managers to assist the identification of possible signs of exploitation and improve the reporting of potential trafficking.
- Developing smart protocols to share our learnings and support our cooperation with law enforcement.
- Designing new methods to better flag possible exploitation on Airbnb before it happens, while still respecting and maintaining the privacy of hosts and guests.
- Convening a range of companies and local anti-human trafficking experts to explore new areas of collaboration to strengthen the private sector’s efforts in combating trafficking.
In a press release, the company stated: “Exploitation and trafficking are still all too common in today’s society, but we are eager to use our global reach to help assist in the effort to end it once and for all. Such cruelty runs counter to the open and welcoming society we deeply believe in at Airbnb, and we look forward to continuing our work with Polaris to make travel safer for everyone.”
Human trafficking is one of many efforts the company is making to ensure accountability to its community. The company’s Open Homes programme was used to provide fire victims in Australia homes, and it has committed to a full review of the properties listed on its site.