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Answer the Call: Convenience Retailers vs. Human Trafficking

Survey responses from store, corporate level will help in industry’s ongoing fight
Photograph: Shutterstock

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — United Against Slavery is asking NACS and the convenience-store industry to help provide a comprehensive review of human trafficking in the transportation sector. The convenience-store association and more than 100 contributing groups, including 59 oversight agencies from Canada, Brazil, the Netherlands and the United States, are participating in United Against Slavery’s 2021 National Outreach Survey for Transportation (NOST).

The project will analyze frontline data from experts in all modes of transportation to craft policies and solutions to disrupt human trafficking and ultimately make it difficult, unattractive and unprofitable.

“Convenience stores have taken an exceptional leadership role in helping to address human trafficking in their neighborhoods. Because of their proximity and extended hours of operation, our members have a positive impact on people in their communities through partnerships with anti-trafficking groups. This survey will add valuable data from all areas of transportation to build programs that supports the work already being done,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard.

A custom survey link has been developed for convenience retailers. The initiative needs responses from frontline staff, store managers and supervisors, corporate human resources, training staff and leadership. All survey submissions are confidential, and the data will be anonymized prior to being exported for analysis.

The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete:

“For many convenience retailers, putting a stop to human trafficking is a serious responsibility. With close ties to the community, our stores are positioned to share important messages that employees and customers can use to raise awareness against trafficking and help victims. Our members can continue to play an important role by responding to the survey,” said Lenard.

With more than 150,000 locations, c-stores represent one-third of all retail stores in the United States. NACS survey data shows that 40% of all consumers say that human trafficking is an issue they would support their local store in combatting.

NACS partners with two organizations to help raise awareness about human trafficking. In Our Backyard has several industry-specific initiatives to address human trafficking, including Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT) Seventeen state associations and 184 c-store companies have partnered with CSAT. In addition, NACS, CSAT and Ready Training Online (RTO) collaborated on a free online training module, “Community Heroes: C-Stores Stop Human Trafficking.” In 2017, NACS partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign to provide free training and awareness materials that help store associates identify instances of human trafficking.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, Alexandria, Va.-based NACS is a global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing, with more than 1,500 retailer and 1,500 supplier members from more than 50 countries.

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