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Michigan Casinos Working To End Human Trafficking


A southwest Michigan casino is trying to help fight human trafficking. 

The Firekeepers Human Trafficking Awareness Program is continuing its efforts to raise human trafficking awareness.  Over the past year, the program has been working to combat human trafficking in its casino and hotel.  The program provides training to employees on how to spot and report possible human trafficking. 

Two directors of the program met with the Michigan Human Trafficking Commission to discuss their continued efforts. Sam Abdo is one of the directors of the program.  He has been working on the program since human trafficking was brought to his attention in 2013.  He says awareness is key when combating human trafficking.  “There’s so many people out there still today as I take it outside the casino and continue to try and contribute to help with the awareness and the raising the awareness,” he said.  “It’s amazing how many people still don’t know.  So, we’ve got a pretty big task.”

Four Winds Casinoand Gun Lake Casino have shown interest in bringing the program to their businesses.  However, Abdo says it’s difficult to gauge the success of the program in a concrete way.  “We won’t be able to gauge the results other than there’s more reporting of human trafficking in the state of Michigan.  It’s on the rise.  Which doesn’t necessarily mean the issue is on the rise. It means our awareness is getting better.  So that’s one way that we can gauge.” 

Firekeepers is the first casino in Michigan to have a human trafficking program.  Abdo says he hopes casinos and hotels can be “one more place where people can’t get away with this crime.”

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—Cheyna Roth is the State Capitol Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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