American Gaming Association Launches Anti-Human Trafficking Program

Posted: June 29, 2022, 11:18 a.m.

Last update: June 29, 2022, 11:19 a.m.

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

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

The same week Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her role in trafficking underage girls as part of Jeffrey Epstein’s decades-long scheme, the AGA unveiled its first anti-human trafficking task force humans. The committee’s first point of activity is to release what it calls a new resource designed to bolster the gambling industry’s efforts to rid casinos of being used for human trafficking.

The AGA, our members and the entire gaming industry are committed to eradicating 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 perverse and pervasive violation of human rights.”

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 Project Polaris, as well as the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Treasury.

What is human trafficking?

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

Five-point action plan

The US Gaming Industry’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force says it will focus on education, empowerment and prevention. The task force is committed to better educating casino employees and customers about what constitutes human trafficking, the risks it poses to the industry, and how anyone can potentially intervene.

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

“While many gaming companies already have strong anti-human trafficking policies in place, this guide will serve as an essential tool for the industry to assess and strengthen its current protocols,” explained Alex Costello, Vice President government relations at AGA.

Target Casinos

Commercial and tribal casinos have been hotbeds for criminal networks seeking to traffic people for decades.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says traffickers usually target vulnerable and desperate people. And unfortunately, such unlucky people can often be found in and around casinos.

In casino gambling establishments, the sex trafficking aspect of human trafficking is the most common form of this crime. Casino crowds and collocated accommodation 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 the most prone to human trafficking activities.