LAS VEGAS—Caesars Entertainment is strengthening its commitment to end human trafficking in partnership with two global organizations that lead the fight to prevent and eradicate the issue. In observance of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Caesars has committed to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children by signing ECPAT’s Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct (the code), and joined a premier consortium of hospitality leaders in the International Tourism Partnership (ITP), which provides a platform for companies to share best practices to end human trafficking.
“Victims of human trafficking, including those involved in the commercial sex industry, do not choose to participate,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst, EVP of public policy and corporate responsibility at Caesars Entertainment. “Rather, they are manipulated, brainwashed and forced based on unforeseen and, oftentimes, seemingly inescapable circumstances. We are deeply committed to eliminating sex trafficking and all other forms of human trafficking in our industry and beyond.”
Human trafficking, which includes commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, is a complex issue and a particular challenge for the hospitality industry as it often intersects with organized crime activities including arms or drug sales and cybercrime. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), human trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion industry each year. To combat this issue, Caesars has been actively developing comprehensive policies and protocols, including collaboration with advocacy groups and national frameworks, for several years.
The code is a joint venture of the tourism and hospitality sectors and ECPAT-USA, the leading policy organization in the U.S. seeking to end the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Caesars is the first global gaming-entertainment company to sign. A set of shared business principles that travel-related companies implement to prevent human trafficking and exploitation, the code establishes a framework for companies to provide training, enact a value chain and educate, support and collaborate with stakeholders.
“As the first global gaming-entertainment company to sign the code, Caesars Entertainment’s efforts will be amplified through our network as we identify and respond to human trafficking and child exploitation,” said Michelle Guelbart, director of private sector engagement at ECPAT-USA. “ECPAT-USA is excited about the new partnership and the comprehensive angle Caesars is taking to address the issue.”
Additionally, Caesars joined other hospitality industry leaders as a member of ITP. The organization is a unique industry coalition that convenes leading hotel brands that recognize the need for collective and collaborative action to achieve the group’s set of “Sustainable Development Goals,” including those related to human rights.
“We’re delighted to welcome Caesars Entertainment to our membership and aid in its mission to prevent and address instances of human trafficking in all forms,” said Madhu Rajesh, director at ITP. “This important step forward allows Caesars and our other partners the opportunity to collaborate among like-minded and driven organizations to make an impact on human rights issues like human trafficking.”
Caesars Entertainment also combats human trafficking through its multi-year counter-trafficking program created in collaboration with international trafficking and trauma expert Dr. Halleh Seddighzadeh. As part of the program, Caesars conducts customized, in-depth training of Community Engagement Ambassadors at 12 resorts in Nevada and North Carolina. Community Engagement Ambassadors are security employees who are trained to identify potential indicators of human trafficking, especially sex trafficking. The program also includes anti-trafficking videos and signage along with victim-centered and trauma-focused internal and external protocols and policies. In observance of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Caesars will honor its Las Vegas-region Community Engagement Ambassadors with two ceremonies hosted by the company’s senior leadership.
“Businesses have the power to disrupt and intercept issues related to human trafficking by shifting the narrative,” said Dr. Seddighzadeh. “By utilizing a victim-centered approach and training Community Engagement Ambassadors, Caesars is actively combatting commercial sexual exploitation at its roots and using business as a powerful tool for healing and change.”