Two Arizona casinos recently received accolades for taking action to prevent human trafficking.
Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort, properties of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, earned Safeguarding All From Exploitation Action Project Certification from the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network (AATN) on April 27.
The AATN works with tourism-based businesses to equip employees with the necessary skills and information to identify, report and also prevent human trafficking.
First casinos to achieve certification
There are more than two dozen tribal casinos in Arizona. Arizona online casinos are still prohibited, but there are several sweepstakes and social casinos available to players in The Grand Canyon State.
Talking Stick and Casino Arizona earned certification after 94% of their collective staff completed AATN’s Safeguarding All From Exploitation (SAFE) Action Project. The properties participated in the program earlier this year in preparation for Super Bowl LVII.
AATN mandated all companies in the tourism industry to complete the program. The two Arizona tribal casinos are the first casinos to do so at a high enough rate to earn certification. AATN trained 3,025 employees in just over two months.
Anthony Maxwell, security director at Casino Arizona, said the certification shows the casinos’ commitment to safety.
“We are honored to be the first and only certified casinos in the state to receive such a prestigious recognition from a reputable organization like the Arizona Anti-Trafficking Network. The safety of our guests is always a top priority for us, and we were mindful that extra precautions were imperative leading up to the influx of visitors for the Super Bowl.”
Casinos want to train 100% of their staffs
The Super Bowl may have been the impetus for completing the course, but Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort are looking to train 100% of their staff through the SAFE Action Project by the end of the year.
To do this, they will provide regular in-person training sessions and have also created an online course for staff to complete on their own time, Maxwell said.
“This SAFE Action Project Certification is just the beginning. We are continuing our efforts in the hopes of training all of our staff to identify, report and prevent human trafficking on our properties and beyond. And we hope other groups in Arizona follow suit.”
Arizona ranks 13th in nation for human trafficking
The National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) reported more than 50,000 signals in 2021, which includes calls, texts, emails, web chats and online tip reports. Two-thirds of those signals specified their locations. There were 651 signals in Arizona.
Arizona ranks 13th in the US for human trafficking, according to the NHTH.
Participants in the AATN SAFE Action Project are taking an active role in reducing that number moving forward. In the process, Arizona should improve its ranking.
But more importantly, it hopes to lead by example for other in-state industries and additional states looking to take a firmer stance at preventing human trafficking.