ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign to help combat human trafficking.
The DHS Blue Campaign raises public awareness about human trafficking, leveraging partnerships to educate the public to recognize human trafficking and report suspected instances. The Blue Campaign also offers training to law enforcement and others to increase detection and investigation of human trafficking, and to protect victims and bring suspected traffickers to justice.
Through the partnership, Alexandria, Va.-based NACS will provide training and awareness materials (posters, handouts, etc.) to members free of charge.
“Convenience stores serve 160 million customers a day in every community across the country,” said Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives for NACS. “Our industry is well-equipped to share important messages with our customers so they can collectively create the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program in their communities.”
Lenard also serves as a board member for the National Safe Place Network, which works with companies, including convenience stores, to provide access to immediate help and supportive resources for youth in need.
The new partnership with the DHS Blue campaign is the latest of several new programs developed by NACS this year to help retailers develop new tools to serve their communities. In June, NACS announced a partnership with the American Red Cross to advance community giving and disaster relief programs for NACS member companies. In May, NACS signed a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America to help c-stores provide more visibility to healthier choices inside their stores. NACS was the first retail-focused association to partner with either of these nationally respected organizations.
“Convenience stores are as closely tied to their local communities as any retail channel,” Lenard said. “Representing one-third of all retail stores in the United States, convenience stores don’t just sell products and services that people enjoy; they make a difference in their communities and help address important national initiative groups at a local level.”