Between supporting local charities and nonprofits, acting as economic engines and job creators, and leading on corporate responsibility, the gaming industry’s commitment to being a force for good in its communities is clear.
However, there is at least one industry cause that often goes overlooked by industry observers: our fight to end human trafficking.
Human trafficking persists around the world today, impacting an estimated 25 million victims on an annual basis. Perpetrators of this form of modern-day slavery are known to exploit legitimate businesses—including travel and tourism properties—to conduct their criminal activity. This is especially true of industries like gaming that conduct a significant share of business via cash payments.
As pillars in our communities, the gaming industry is committed to stamping out this evil human rights abuse, which is why the American Gaming Association recently formed the AGA Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force—made up of AGA member executives with expertise in security, hospitality, compliance, legal and other specialized sectors of the gaming industry—works to develop robust casino-specific tools and guidance, participate in industry events, and facilitate AGA membership participation to bolster anti-human trafficking work.
As a first action, the AGA task force recently released a guide to aid the gaming industry’s anti-human trafficking efforts. Building on work by hospitality and nonprofit partners and the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury, the resource lays out several key findings that operators can begin implementing now if they are not already, including:
- Adopting an organization-wide anti-trafficking policy
- Developing a plan for responding to and reporting suspected human trafficking incidents
- Providing department-specific training to employees on behavioral indicators and reporting channels
- Updating anti-money laundering training to consider indicators of human trafficking
- Always verifying age and ID
- Using signage to raise awareness and support victims
- Working with nonprofits and state and local agencies
By taking these steps, we can follow through on our moral and legal obligation to protect our communities and provide guests and employees with a safe environment when they are at our properties. Many gaming companies already have versions of these policies, and it’s the task force’s goal for this guide to continue to normalize these protocols across our industry.
This is just the beginning of the task force’s work, which will include co-hosting regional events, participating in educational sessions at Global Gaming Expo 2022 (October 10-13), and activities during National Human Trafficking Prevention Month this coming January.
Whether gaming industry executives, employees on the casino floor or casino patrons, we can all make a difference in preventing human trafficking by educating ourselves on how to guard against, identify and respond to the issue. Let’s all join the fight to end this human rights violation that has no place in our industry or anywhere else.
Updates on AGA Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force events and initiatives can be found at americangaming.org/responsibility-old/preventing-and-combating-human-trafficking-in-gaming.