How to Identify Warning Signs of Human Trafficking in the STR Industry (Episode 329)

How to Combat Human Trafficking Through Education & Awareness

Today’s expert guest is Catherine Ratcliffe. A vacation rental owner and host since 2018, she’s pivoted from a successful HR career to run a consulting business where she takes on tough subjects for employers and hosts – including today’s heavy topic, the global human trafficking crisis.

Catherine shares subtle details to look out for and security protocols to implement in your business to combat this horrific invisible threat. You will leave this episode with a list of new methods to root this evil out from where it lurks, to identify issues in your organization or that of your partners and vendors, and to act on what you see.

In the United States, we are the largest consumer of our own people. Host, guest, interested in our industry or not – if you are a member of society, this conversation applies to you. This is going to take everybody, globally, elevating our awareness and being on board with the mission of ending human trafficking.

(00:01:25) #STRShareSunday: @yyhminnesota

(00:06:20) Catherine Ratcliffe’s Mission & Inspirations

  • Florida is number three in the US in human trafficking 
  • Human trafficking isn’t always sex trafficking 
  • Bank verification as a tool for identifying issues 
  • St. Louis Police locate sex trafficking victim… (FirstAlert 4)
  • Building a training program about this subject  
  • Translating her learnings to the STR industry 

(00:13:59) Recommended Step-by-Step Training Protocol 

  • Providing a clear definition of human trafficking 
  • Visual, verbal and environmental cues to look for
  • Importance of ongoing training 
  • Monitoring apps and digital tools
  • Cleaning team’s unique position of awareness

(00:22:08) What Can STR Hosts Do to Combat Human Trafficking?

  • Sporting events as high risk periods of time
  • Leveraging guest screening tools 
  • Flagging a high number of WiFi connections
  • Cameras in the driveway to monitor high traffic
  • Understanding the sales model behind this issue
  • Proper paperwork backups and ID verification 

(00:31:45) How to Address Trafficking Issues That You Notice

Download a transcript of this episode.




Yay, You’re Here Minnesota is a group of STRs hosted by our friend and Hosting Business Mastery Method student, Tanya, and she’s doing a great job on many fronts. First, she’s highlighting her local culture, events, and attractions with a weekly Instagram series. Next, she’s leaned into themed spaces, our favorite being the RomCom house equipped with a Legally Blonde room.

She’s also done a fantastic job strategizing her marketing during the offseason to promote “special offers” rather than “discounted” stays – keeping her brand strong and her bookings busy.

Yay, You’re Here Minnesota offers a range of fun properties for the whole family to enjoy. Their listings are full of color and excitement –  large homes, perfect for a family trip to the Mall of America or a visit to see family at the local colleges. Full stocked, these homes boast endless entertainment and cozy outdoor spaces.

We would love to feature YOU, so don’t forget to use #STRShareSunday to get your chance!

Together, Annette & Sarah are the dynamic duo behind the wildly popular podcast Thanks For Visiting, co-creators of the Hosting Business Mastery Method, & seasoned short-term-rental hosts.

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