American Gaming Association Initiates Program to Combat Human Trafficking

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has developed a program to combat human trafficking inside commercial and tribal casinos across the nation.

A sign warning travelers to be on the lookout for human trafficking at Harry Reid International Airport. The American Gaming Association is hoping to further curb human trafficking with its newly formed Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. (Image: The Washington Post)

The same week that Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in trafficking underage girls in part of Jeffrey Epstein’s decades-long scheme, the AGA unveiled its first Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. The committee’s first item of business is publishing what it calls a new resource tailored towards bolstering the gaming industry’s efforts to rid casinos from being used for human trafficking.

The AGA, our members, and the entire gaming industry are committed to stamping out all forms of human trafficking,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “Through the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, we will continue to bring the industry together to defeat this evil and pervasive human rights offense.”

The AGA Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force seeks to build on efforts already initiated in the gaming and hospitality industries. The committee will work with nonprofit partners such as the Polaris Project, as well as the US Homeland Security, Justice, and Treasury departments.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide — including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be of any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations. — US State Department

Five-Point Action Plan

The American Gaming Industry’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force says it will focus on education, empowerment, and prevention. The task force is determined to better educate both casino workers and patrons regarding what constitutes human trafficking, the risks it poses to the industry, and how anyone can potentially intervene.

The AGA group plans to also increase training programs made available for casino workers to help prevent such trafficking from occurring in and around casinos. The industry trade group adds that while most of its member casino operators already have in-depth anti-trafficking protocols in place, the task force will supplement those safeguards.

“While many gaming companies already have robust anti-human trafficking policies, this guide will serve as an essential tool for the industry to assess and strengthen its current protocols,” explained Alex Costello, AGA’s vice president of government relations.

Casinos Targeted

Commercial and tribal casino floors have for decades been prime venues for criminal networks seeking to traffic humans.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says traffickers typically target people who are vulnerable and desperate. And unfortunately, such people down on their luck can often be found in and around casinos.

Within casino gaming establishments, the sex trafficking aspect of human trafficking is the most common form of this crime. Casino crowds and co-located lodging facilities — coupled with the transient nature of sex trafficking — provide convenience and cover for sex traffickers,” explains the Polaris Project.

The US State Department adds that California, New York, and Texas are most prone to human trafficking activity.

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