Thanet Hotel Watch scheme to protect children and vulnerable people from trafficking and sexual exploitation

Hotel Watch launch: (from left) Jo-Anna Taylor, Community Services Manager for Thanet District Council; Campaigner Sammy Woodhouse; and PC Matthew Owen from the Thanet Multi-Agency Task Force

A new scheme in Thanet to encourage hoteliers and accommodation providers to help protect vulnerable people has been launched by Kent Police.

Through an information-sharing scheme called Hotel Watch, officers from the Thanet Multi-Agency Task Force are calling for people working in the accommodation industry across the district to recognise the potential warning signs for crimes which could take place on their premises.

Working with the Thanet Community Safety Partnership and local businesses, police hope to raise awareness of criminals using venues to carry out child sexual exploitation, sexual offences and human trafficking.

Hotel Watch was launched on Tuesday (June 7) at Thanet District Council’s chambers, where business owners and other representatives learnt about the scheme.

There was also a talk from campaigner Sammy Woodhouse who spoke about her own personal experience as a victim of child abuse and the work she does to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.

During the summer, officers will be working on a range of activities to promote the Hotel Watch scheme, including providing educational courses for staff working in the hotel industry.

Inspector Ian Swallow of Thanet Community Safety Unit said: “We are asking those working in hotels, guesthouses and other accommodation providers to help protect children and vulnerable people.

“While there is no more of an issue here than anywhere else in the country, it’s important to be aware of the signs of potential offending, so hotels and guesthouses can play a vital role in safeguarding those at risk of becoming victims of exploitative criminals.

“By working in partnership with local businesses, it will be beneficial to the community and ensure Thanet remains safe.”

Hospitality providers can find out more about Hotel Watch by emailing [email protected].

The work taking place to tackle modern slavery reports in Thanet