In the ongoing battle against human trafficking, it is crucial to acknowledge the unwavering commitment of individuals who go above and beyond their call of duty. Among these remarkable individuals is Karen Cahn, Director of Public Relations & Marketing Communications at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, who recently received the esteemed Community Service Award at the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association’s STARS of the Industry Awards 2023.
This recognition highlights Karen’s tireless efforts in supporting the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network’s (AATN) SAFE Action Project, a vital initiative aimed at training tourism industry professionals to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking.
The SAFE Action Project: Equipping the Tourism Industry
At the forefront of AATN’s endeavors is the SAFE Action Project, an Arizona-based collaborative effort designed to equip professionals within the tourism industry with the necessary knowledge and skills to combat human trafficking.
The tourism sector, being an integral part of Arizona’s thriving economy, is uniquely positioned to play a vital role in identifying and addressing this heinous crime. SAFE offers specialized in-person and web-based training, tailored to different roles within the industry, empowering individuals to identify the signs of human trafficking and take appropriate action.
The state of Arizona possesses a complex set of factors that both contribute to and combat human trafficking. Its appealing climate, extensive interstate highways, proximity to the US border, accessibility to nearby popular destinations such as Las Vegas and California, significant conference hosting capacity, and the presence of professional sporting events all contribute to the dynamics of trafficking.
All these factors make Arizona a likely destination for tourists, but also a destination for traffickers, who can use the busy tourist seasons as a screen for human trafficking. AATN (as well as SAFE) recognizes the need for collaborative efforts involving industry professionals and community members to tackle this issue head-on.
Karen Cahn: A Catalyst for Change
Karen Cahn, a remarkable force within the tourism industry, has emerged as a true champion against human trafficking. Her dedication to the cause has extended well beyond her role at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, as she has worked tirelessly to mobilize multidisciplinary stakeholders both within and outside the industry.
Karen’s passionate advocacy for training, public awareness, and collaborative engagement has resulted in industry professionals and community members across Arizona gaining the knowledge and expertise necessary to identify and report human trafficking incidents. Through her efforts, lives have been saved, and communities have been empowered.
The Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network (AATN) commends Karen Cahn for her remarkable achievements and the recognition she has received for her outstanding dedication to the fight against human trafficking. Her work, along with the collaborative efforts of the SAFE Action Project, are transforming the tourism industry into a potent force against this abhorrent crime.
With every industry professional equipped with the knowledge and skills to identify and report trafficking incidents, Arizona moves one step closer to realizing its vision of a state where no one is bought, sold, or exploited.