Hotels watching for human trafficking during NCAA tournament

Iowa News

The NCAA tournament kicks off the event season here in Des Moines. The metro is packed and security is tight, but cops aren’t the only ones searching for crimes. Hotel staff is on the lookout too.

The teams are here, the arena is packed, and fans are ready to see their favorites. This means that all of the hotels across the metro are packed with the city’s newest visitors. 

“They’re having a lot of fun coming into town. A lot of people haven’t been to Des Moines before,” says Barb Adix. Adix is the Assistant General Manager for the Des Lux Hotel in downtown Des Moines. 

The staff at the hotel is prepared for all the fans, but they’re also on high alert. Big events are prime time for human traffickers.

“It’s super important to know how to fight human trafficking and to know the signs of what’s going on,” says Guest Services Agent, Rachel Hurley.

The Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking trained the staff on what to look for. If they’re uncomfortable with anything that they see, they’re told to contact management immediately. 

“We look out for a gentlemen coming in with younger adults that we don’t feel looks right. Or if you see that the guest with them is feeling uncomfortable, they’re standing towards the back of the front desk and being hidden,” says Adix.  

There are several signs you can look for, but the most important advice is to speak up. Your call could save a life. Adix says, “I tell my desk clerks, just approach the people or call the Des Moines Police Department and just let them be aware of it. Let them handle it from there.” 

Every new employee at Des Lux Hotel is trained once they start working. Adix said they monitor anyone who isn’t staying at the hotel and will follow anyone who seems suspicious up to their floor to make sure everything is okay. Even though security is being stepped up throughout the next couple of days, police do need your help to spot whenever something is wrong.

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