American Gaming Association Launches Training Series Against Human Trafficking

Written By J.R. Duren on January 15, 2024
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The American Gaming Association (AGA) is taking action against human trafficking. The group recently launched a new training series for gaming employees that helps them recognize human trafficking and know which steps to take when they see something suspicious.

The AGA announced the program on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day (Jan. 11). In an AGA press release, Vice President, Government Relations Alex Costello said in a statement:

“Combating human trafficking is integral to our industry’s commitment to the communities in which we operate. The AGA is proud to lead the industry’s fight against this abhorrent crime and this free training empowers employees at all levels to spot and prevent cases of human trafficking.”

Traffickers use hotels and casinos for illegal activity

The AGA noted that gaming and human trafficking are intertwined because traffickers use US casinos and hotels for their illegal operations.

For example, some hotels allow guests to pay for a room in cash and do not require identification to make a booking. Traffickers can use that anonymity to their advantage, especially when they can hook hotel staff into their scheme. The AGA stated:

“Casinos and hotels can be optimal environments for human trafficking, especially if the property allows for cash payments, does not require ID checks, or similar lacks security procedures that would make trafficking more difficult. Hospitality employees have been reported as acting as middlemen in setting up trafficked individuals with buyers.”

It’s not just physical gaming properties that become points of business for traffickers, either. The AGA noted that online gaming apps “may also be used by traffickers to recruit victims” via chat options. Additionally, these criminals can use online and retail casinos to launder money.

Casino employee training will include quizzes, videos

The AGA worked with RG24seven Virtual Training to build the anti-trafficking training, which will include a series of videos and quizzes that will educate gaming employees. When participants finish the training, they’ll receive a certificate.

“Responsibility in gaming means more than promoting safer gambling—it means a commitment to all forms of customer and community safety,” RG24seven CEO Wendy Anderson said. “We’re honored to work with the AGA and advance the gaming industry’s efforts with the launch of today’s training.”

The training is based on the AGA’s “Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking in the Gaming Industry” handbook. The AGA debuted the handbook in 2022.

The training is part of a larger push by the AGA to build awareness about human trafficking. It put together a resource page for businesses and employees that includes:

What to do if you suspect human trafficking is happening

The public can help casinos and hotels in the fight against human trafficking. The FBI recommends that those suspicious of human trafficking or are victims of human trafficking should call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.

You can also text the NHTRC at 233733, or submit a tip on the organization’s website. The NHTRC’s phone line is staffed 24 hours a day.

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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