Tripadvisor is adding a sexual assault warnings to its resort listings
The travel industry is shedding light on the dangerous reality of sexual assault happening to victims on vacation.
TripAdvisor is stepping up its safety efforts to combat sexual misconduct at hotels and resorts by flagging places where incidents of assault were reported. Now, users will be notified with a warning message before they decide to book their stay at a resort in question.
“Our new badges are intended for instances in which news reports bring new health, safety or discrimination information to light that may not be present in traveler reviews or forum posts,” company spokesperson Brian Hoyt told Moneyish in an email.
“There could also be reviews or forum posts mentioning these issues. These badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to 3 months; however, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge.”
TripAdvisor says it will continue to flag safety issues relevant to travelers as they are reported by commenters on the site, or by the media.
The site received major backlash recently for deleting a comment posted by Texas woman Kristie Love, 35, who said she was raped by a security guard in 2010 at Paraiso Maya hotel in Mexico. At least two other woman also spoke out about sexual assault at the same resort. TripAdvisor issued a public apology on its website last week.
“We apologize to the sexual assault victim reported on in the article, who had her forum post removed seven years ago on TripAdvisor,” the company wrote in a statement. “At the time, we had a policy whereby we judged content to be in breach of our guidelines if it did not adhere to family-friendly language.”
The company has since republished Love’s forum post, and has already flagged three popular resorts in Mexico where sexual assault has been reported including Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Iberostar Paraiso Maya, and Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.
There were 15,000 rape complaints in Mexico in 2010 and around the same number in 2011, according to government statistics.
Airbnb, the international home and vacation rental website, is more forthright with users detailing its safety policy on its community standards page on the website where it clearly includes intolerance for sexual assault.
“Safety is our first priority — we require that you refrain from endangering or threatening anyone,” the company states on its website.
Additionally, it details three categories that are never acceptable: harming yourself, threatening anyone and creating hazardous situations.
“You should not commit physical or sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, domestic violence, robbery, human trafficking, other acts of violence, or hold anyone against their will. Members of dangerous organizations, including terrorist, organized criminal, and violent racist groups, are not welcome in this community,” the company notes.
Like on Tripadvisor, users are able to comment about their experience as a host or as a guest through a community forum. Reviews are not deleted unless they violate their content policy. Content that refers to the details of an Airbnb investigation will not be posted, according to the site’s policy, and the minute a user reports an assault to Airbnb, the assaulter is removed from the site.
“Specifically when it comes to reports of sexual assault, we know it is not easy for a survivor to come forward in the first place, so we don’t want to make it any harder,” Nick Shapiro, Airbnb Global Head of Trust & Risk Management, said in a statement. “That’s why our policy ensures that any report of sexual assault results in the immediate removal of the offending party. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important to us than keeping our community safe and earning their trust.”
There have been previous reports of sex crimes that have occurred through Airbnb. Earlier this year, a guest claimed her host sexually assaulted her. She filed a lawsuit against the company, saying it failed to do a background check that would have uncovered the previous arrest of a host. Airbnb said it removed the host from its site immediately.
Anti-sexual violence organization RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) details safety tips for travelers on its site, like sharing your itinerary with a friend or family member so they know where you’ll be at all times, and researching taxi and ridesharing companies that are available and reputable in the area.
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