AFPD is partnering with with the Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT) to take a stand against human trafficking.
Taking a stand against the second largest and fastest growing crime in the world, the Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers (AFPD) has partnered with the Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT) and In Our Backyard (IOB) to provide human trafficking training and materials to their convenience store members.
AFPD has mailed informational packets to their members and has also included the Convenience Stores Against Trafficking training video for members to utilize in training their staff.
Using a brief video and printed reference cards for in-store use, CSAT will provide training so that employees can understand the indicators of human trafficking and employee appropriate response protocols.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world. Occurring all over the world, human trafficking is estimated to generate billions of dollars in profit yearly.
Through this partnership, AFPD is hoping to educate convenience store owners and their staff of the warning signs of human trafficking and how to deal with it.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Michigan. “We are asking store owners to work with us by displaying hotlines in their stores,” said Auday Arabo, president and CEO of AFPD. “We want victims to find the help they are seeking.”
CSAT is a program of In Our Backyard, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit known for its anti-trafficking work surrounding the past eight Super Bowls and for the critically acclaimed book by Executive Director Nita Belles: In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It.
CSAT provides training, victim outreach, and public awareness of human trafficking through convenience store partners. “AFPD has been incredibly supportive of our program and promoting it to members. As the eyes and ears of our nation’s communities, convenience stores can learn to spot human trafficking, safely report traffickers, and save lives,” said Juliana Williams, CSAT program director. “While nonprofits and law enforcement are at the forefront of combatting this injustice, the convenience store industry has a uniquely vital role in ending human trafficking in America.”
CSAT reaches out to victims through their Freedom Stickers. These stickers contain a message of hope and a phone number for the National Human Trafficking hotline - a nongovernmental agency with local networks of victim-centered responders.
CSAT posts Freedom Stickers in convenience stores’ restrooms as the restroom has proven to be a safe space for victims of human trafficking to reach out for help. CSAT’s Freedom Stickers are placed in all 50 states, providing a way out for victims.
“Our hope is that an employee will trust their gut and make a phone call immediately after suspected traffickers and victims have left the store. That call can save a life and stop traffickers from exploiting more victims,” declared Williams.