Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming have launched a set of initiatives to combat human trafficking. The initiative includes new support tools for victims and those at risk, a youth education program, and additional training for team members to address and prevent human trafficking. The companies are also working with new community partners to extend the impact of their efforts.
“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.
Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming said in a statement that they, over the years, 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 the first hospitality brands to implement the Twentyfour-Seven QR code sticker, Created for trafficking survivors, by survivors at Twentyfour-Seven Inc. It provides critical information and support to those who need it, while also deterring traffickers from targeting individuals on the properties. This QR code is being implemented in 44 hotels and casinos across 13 countries. With information in several different languages, the sticker helps people at risk to find a way to understand their situations and the resources available for protection.
They have also expanded the Hard Rock Social Identity Quest (SIQ), an education program that helps teens understand the risks of being lured online in Mexico following a 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 date, it is 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.
The companies said they will raise funds through the ‘Change for Change’ program 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 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.
The Youth Employment Program, offered initially in New York City and extended to South Florida last year, 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 also 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. Working with non-profit and law enforcement partners, the AGA Taskforce created this training based on trauma-informed care and the contributions of trafficking survivors. It will help set a standard for the gaming industry and ensure that guest-facing Team Members know how to recognize signs that trafficking may occur and what steps to take, the companies said.