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US – AGA launches first-of-its-kind industry training to combat human trafficking

By - 12 January 2024

The American Gaming Association (AGA), in partnership with RG24seven Virtual Training, launched a first-of-its-kind, free online training to educate gaming industry employees on how to combat human trafficking. The announcement comes on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Available to all gaming companies, the free training is based on AGA’s Guide to Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking and draws on expertise from AGA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, nonprofits and law enforcement.

“Combating human trafficking is integral to our industry’s commitment to the communities in which we operate,” said AGA Vice President, Government Relations Alex Costello. “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.”

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

Operators are also getting involved. Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming have also announced their ongoing commitment to the fight against human trafficking with new support tools for victims and those at risk, a youth education program, new trainings to help Team Members combat and prevent human trafficking, and work with new community partners to create a greater impact.

“We are deeply committed to the work our community partners provide for those at risk, victims and survivors of human trafficking in the United States and around the world, as we work together to combat human trafficking,” said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming.

Over the last several years, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming have implemented comprehensive protocols to increase awareness of and prevent human trafficking, including training over 27,000 hotel and casino Team Members globally and collaborating with local community partners and advocacy groups.

Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are continuing their work in 2024 with direct support for victims, survivors, and at-risk youth, through the following programs:

Created for trafficking survivors, by survivors at Twentyfour-Seven Inc., Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are the first hospitality brands to implement the Twentyfour-Seven QR code sticker, which provides critical information and support to those who need it, while also deterring traffickers from targeting individuals on the properties. The Twentyfour-Seven QR code sticker, which has resulted in several law enforcement investigations being opened, is being implemented in 44 hotels and casinos across 13 countries. This QR code, which offers information in several different languages, is helping people at risk find a way to understand their situations and the resources available for protection.

Building upon the success of the Hard Rock Social Identity Quest (SIQ), an education program that helps teens understand the risks of being lured online, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming have now expanded the program into classrooms in Mexico following a well-received pilot in Quintana Roo last year that reached 35,000 students. The state’s Governor has made the program a mandatory part of the educational curriculum. To effectively reach Mexican youth, the SIQ content was co-developed with experts from PACT-  (Protect All Children from Trafficking; formerly ECPAT-USA), ECPAT-Mexico, and EduNetwork Partners.

To date, the Hard Rock Social Identity Quest was adopted and taught by 60,000 teachers in 45 U.S. states, reaching 1.2 million high school students, eight percent of the student population. Nearly 2,000 Hard Rock team members also completed the Quest with a young person in their lives.

Through its Change for Change program, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming will raise funds to combat human trafficking during January. Casino guests will have the opportunity to donate change from redeemed gaming vouchers to the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, where 100 percent of the funds will benefit our community partners: PACT, the first U.S. organization to focus on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and Twentyfour-Seven. In 2023, this program raised $100,000 for PACT and Covenant House New York. 

Offered initially in New York City and extended to South Florida last year, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming’s Youth Employment Program aims to help protect youth at risk and support survivors to escape a life of trafficking by helping them forge careers in hospitality. Partners include Covenant House New York City, the largest provider of runaway and homeless youth services in New York City, and FLITE Center, South Florida’s leading agency for vulnerable youth and those aging out of foster care. FLITE Center provides support to vulnerable youth with guidance on education, employment, housing health and wellness, and care coordination.

Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are driving the advancement of industry practices to combat human trafficking with the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force’s first-ever free industry-developed training, designed to be the new standard in training for the gaming industry.

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