DES MOINES & ANKENY, Iowa — In an effort to combat the crime of human trafficking, Kum & Go and Casey’s have come together to announce a partnership with Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT). The partnership is intended to raise awareness of trafficking and help victims escape.
Close to 90 c-store chains and industry-related groups are using the CSAT program, which has trained more than 13,000 c-stores on how to respond appropriately and safely to incidents of human trafficking. CSP has also joined the effort.
Kum & Go has nearly 400 c-stores in 11 Midwestern states. Casey’s has more than 2,100 stores in 16 states in small and midsized markets in the Midwest and South. Both are in the top 20 c-store chains in the United States by number of retail outlets.
Together, their large footprint represents a multistate effort to protect victims who have been conditioned to accept their circumstances and may not be able to seek out help on their own. By leveraging a network of stores, many that are open 24 hours a day, Kum & Go and Casey’s can provide a collective neighborhood watch and safe haven made up of caring associates and customers.
Store associates will participate in CSAT training and place stickers in bathroom stalls with numbers for victims to call or text to reach the National Human Trafficking hotline.
“Kum & Go is committed to improving our neighborhoods, and this partnership with CSAT is our most recent effort to make days better. If we can help just one person as a result, everything we do is worth it,” said Tanner Krause, president of Kum & Go LC, Des Moines, Iowa.
“Casey’s is always looking for ways to support and improve our communities,” said Terry Handley, CEO of Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey’s General Stores. “We recognize that we can play an important role in identifying and deterring human trafficking in our communities.”
CSAT empowers the c-store industry through training while providing victim outreach and public awareness. “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,” said CSAT Program Director Juliana Williams.
A program of In Our Backyard, CSAT is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit known for its anti-trafficking work surrounding the past eight Super Bowls and for the book by founder and Executive Director Nita Belles: "In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It." In Our Backyard Freedom Stickers are in all 50 states, providing a pathway to freedom for victims of human trafficking. CSAT equips the c-store industry to take a stand against the atrocity of human trafficking in America through no-cost training, victim outreach materials and public awareness.