No one likes to imagine that human trafficking could ever take place in their gaming establishment, but the uncomfortable truth is that it does happen and it’s likely more common than you think.
Just as casinos and gaming entities have a responsibility to be on the lookout for illicit financial activity, they should also be investing in measures to prevent and combat human trafficking.
Human trafficking occurs when an individual is exploited for labor, services, or commercial sex through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. It is the third largest criminal enterprise globally and there are an estimated 24.9 million people currently trafficked around the world, according to Jeannie Hovland, Vice Chair/Director of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Office of Self Regulation.
While there is a significant lack of data regarding the prevalence of human trafficking activity within casinos or gaming establishments, it’s clear that this is a common and disturbing issue.
Human trafficking has recently been a focus of the federal government as well. In June 2021, FinCEN released “Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism National Priorities,” and included human trafficking and human smuggling among the organization’s top priorities. Additionally, The National Action Plan To Combat Human Trafficking was first released in 2020 and then updated in 2021 by the Biden Administration. These documents demonstrate the increased focus and priority being placed on anti-human trafficking efforts nationwide.
The scale of the problem can feel overwhelming, but with the right tools and resources, any casino can get a prevention program started and ensure employees know what to do should a situation ever arise.
According to Paul Pellizzari, Vice President of Global Social Responsibility at Hard Rock International, strategies that casinos can utilize to combat human trafficking fall into several categories:
Employees receive training during their orientation on recognizing the signs of human trafficking. Additionally, they receive refreshers throughout the year in advance of special events that can lead to an increase of human trafficking activity, such as the Superbowl or Miami Grand Prix.
In addition to recognizing the signs of human trafficking, employees are trained on what to do and what not to do should they see suspicious behavior, Pellizzari said.
If you’re looking to start a human trafficking prevention program at your casino but aren’t sure how, download our white paper, “How Casinos Can Help Combat Human Trafficking” to learn more about strategies used by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Hard Rock International to combat human trafficking at their properties.
How Casinos Can Help Combat Human Trafficking
Vector Solutions offers online casino training, gaming compliance and safety solutions, as well as a gaming-specific course catalog of nearly 150 online training courses, including a new course on human trafficking.