TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Casino officials are taking a proactive approach to battle human trafficking at the Hollywood Casino-Toledo.
The Ohio Casino Control Commission now mandates human trafficking training for casinos. On Tuesday, gaming agents at the Hollywood Casino in Toledo were the first ever in the state to get the training. Cleveland gaming agents will get training next.
According to experts, human trafficking is all about supply and demand. Celia Williamson, a professor at the University of Toledo, warned casinos like sporting events and conventions, can draw in a demand for trafficking.
"Casinos will bring men, men with lots of money in their pocket, who ware wanting to have a good time," Williamson said. "That places our community somewhat at risk."
Williamson said it is likely traffickers have already started to think about bringing their business to the area, so the Ohio Casino Control Commission decided to mandate training.
Williamson led the training for about 15 gaming agents Tuesday at the Hollywood Casino in Toledo. She taught them what to look out for and how to identify a potential victim.
"If that person is seeming very submissive and someone else is controlling. If they're there with an older ‘boyfriend.' Maybe her whole outfit might cost five dollars, but she has a $200 bracelet or an iPhone. We're not going to wait for them to be victimized. We're not going to wait for them to be traumatized," Williamson said.
Bob Tenenbaum, a spokesperson for Penn National Gaming, issued the following statement: "We work with local and state law enforcement and the Casino Commission to be very vigilant about any sort of crime in and around casino property. That obviously includes human trafficking."
Tenenbaum said trafficking has not been a prevalent problem around Penn National casinos, but Williamson said it is always best to be prepared.
"You can't end it. You can't eliminate it, but you can certainly make it very difficult."
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