Marriott, SAFE Center roll out training curriculum for survivors of trafficking

Marriott International and the University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom and Empowerment Center for Human Trafficking Survivors (the SAFE Center) have expanded nationwide the Future in Training curriculum that seeks to equip survivors of human trafficking interested in embarking on careers in hospitality with necessary information and resources. The national rollout will span 11 metropolitan areas throughout the continental United States and is expected to train up to 150 survivors by next July.

Recognizing that trafficking survivors face many barriers in their search for education and employment, Marriott co-developed the FiT Curriculum in collaboration with the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery in 2018. Designed with input from survivor consultants and field experts, the FiT Curriculum provides trauma-informed job readiness training for survivors interested in hospitality careers. The training program consists of seven modules that focus on hospitality and teach foundational knowledge useful in any industry, including presentation skills, teamwork, time management, relationship building, and interviewing basics.

"Marriott has a longstanding commitment to empower through opportunity and create pathways to career growth,” Marriott International President and CEO Anthony Capuano said in a statement. “We are proud to expand our commitment to survivors of human trafficking and deepen our anti-trafficking efforts. This curriculum helps fill a market-based need for trained talent and offers survivors access to skills-based training and meaningful careers in the hospitality industry. We look forward to expanding our support to the SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors as it scales the FiT Curriculum nationwide."

The initiative builds on Marriott and GFEMS’ successful pilot of the FiT Curriculum implemented by the SAFE Center for Human Trafficking and three other service providers in Charlotte, N.C., Dallas and New York in 2022. More than 60 survivors were trained in the pilot and post-curriculum survey responses indicated an increase in knowledge of all topics, confidence in skills and abilities, and a 97 percent satisfaction rate with the pace and content.

The SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors was awarded an inaugural grant from the AHLA Foundation’s No Room for Trafficking Survivor Fund to grow the FiT Curriculum across the country. Marriott International is a donor to the NRFT Survivor Fund, which provides grants to community-based organizations working to provide financial support and stability to survivors. Jointly with The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Marriott made a combined contribution of $550,000 to the fund in June.

To scale the program nationally, the SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors will use a Train-the-Trainer model to onboard 10 additional sites to deploy the FiT Curriculum in person and/or by virtual instruction. The content will be delivered by local facilitators to structure the program based on the needs of the survivors they serve. All English and Spanish-speaking adult survivors receiving services from the SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors and subcontracted partner organizations will be eligible to participate in the training program.

“We have seen the profound effect hospitality training can have on survivors' wellbeing and autonomy,” said Susan Esserman, SAFE Center founder and director. “The American Hotel and Lodging Association award provides an opportunity to scale the impact of the hospitality training program to human trafficking survivors across the country. We are immensely grateful to Marriott International for their innovative leadership in developing hospitality training for survivors and their commitment to empower survivors by offering vital employment opportunities that advance economic empowerment and financial stability for survivors and their families.”

Marriott introduced human trafficking awareness training—developed in consultation with PACT (previously known as ECPAT-USA) and Polaris—for its associates in 2016. Last year, Marriott marked an important milestone toward its goal of training all on-property associates in human trafficking awareness by 2025 as part of its sustainability and social impact platform, Serve 360. More than 1.1 million Marriott associates are now trained to spot the signs and respond to human trafficking.

As of 2023, more than 900,000 hospitality professionals outside of Marriott have also completed the donated version of the training. The online training can be taken for free at