Casino Trade Group Champions Federal Legislation to Enhance Human Trafficking Awareness

casino trade group championing federal legislation
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Casino Trade Group Champions Federal Legislation to Enhance Human Trafficking Awareness

The American Gaming Association (AGA), representing commercial and tribal casinos across the United States, is endorsing a new federal bill aimed at increasing human trafficking awareness through education and training.

Legislative Initiative

Congressmen David Valadao (R-California) and Troy Carter (D-Louisiana) have introduced the “Human Trafficking Awareness Training Recognition Act.” This bill seeks to expand the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign by establishing an annual certification program for employers to help train their employees in recognizing and responding to signs of human trafficking.

Employers who participate and complete the annual educational program will receive a certificate of completion from the DHS, valid for one year, which they can display as proof of their commitment to combating human trafficking.

“This bipartisan bill recognizes employers who are trained to identify and respond to signs of human trafficking, harnessing the power of industries such as entertainment, hospitality, and transportation, where staff are often the first to spot potential trafficking scenarios,” said Congressman Carter. “This initiative honors the commitment of businesses actively working to combat these crimes and encourages more companies to join the cause.”

The Role of the AGA

The AGA, which launched its Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force in June 2020, is fully supportive of this initiative. The task force collaborates with the DHS, and the U.S. Treasury and Justice departments to better educate casino workers and patrons on the signs of human trafficking and appropriate responses.

“Businesses across hospitality, entertainment, and transportation have a responsibility to bolster the front lines in the fight against human trafficking, and the gaming industry is wholly committed to this imperative,” said AGA President and CEO Bill Miller. “The AGA thanks Reps. Valadao and Carter for their commitment to combating this detestable crime and for recognizing businesses that share this commitment.”

Importance of the Blue Campaign

The DHS Blue Campaign is a national public awareness initiative designed to educate the public, law enforcement, and various industries on recognizing the indicators of human trafficking. The campaign also provides guidance on how to respond appropriately to suspected trafficking situations.

The new bill aims to incentivize more businesses to participate in the Blue Campaign by creating a system to honor those who diligently work to reduce human trafficking. While the Blue Campaign offers valuable tools, it currently lacks a formal recognition program for businesses that train employees to detect and respond to human trafficking.

Human Trafficking and Casinos

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor or sexual acts. Millions of people worldwide fall victim to trafficking each year. Traffickers often target individuals who are psychologically or emotionally vulnerable, economically disadvantaged, or lack support systems.

Casinos can be prime locations for traffickers, as gaming floors are often used to launder money obtained from trafficking activities. Casinos are also frequented by sex workers, some of whom are forced into the industry by traffickers.

DHS arrested more than 2,500 individuals last year on human trafficking charges and rescued over 700 trafficked persons. Law enforcement in Las Vegas has also increased efforts to arrest suspected prostitutes and their clients.

AGA’s Ongoing Efforts

In January, the AGA partnered with RG24seven to launch a virtual training program for casino employees. The program, available for free to casino companies, educates workers on identifying and responding to human trafficking. Those who complete the course receive a certificate of completion.