CHICAGO -- Several petroleum and convenience-store companies and associations are making commitments to Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT), a program of national nonprofit In Our Backyard (IOB).
In addition to employee training on recognizing and safely reporting the signs of human trafficking, CSAT provides Freedom Stickers with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number to be posted in restroom stalls—often the only place a victim of human trafficking is alone and safe enough to reach out for help.
Sara, a survivor whose story is featured in the CSAT training video, shares how she visited c-stores sometimes multiple times a day while she was being trafficked. “I wish In Our Backyard Freedom Stickers had been in bathrooms when I was trafficked a decade ago—I could have gotten out a lot sooner,” she said.
“Human trafficking—commercial sex or labor induced through force, fraud or coercion—is the second-largest and fastest-growing crime in the world. Traffickers exploit the most vulnerable who live in and pass through our communities, whether adults, teens or children,” said IOB Program Director Juliana Williams.
Each year, an estimated 150,000 children are lured into sex trafficking, according to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. Children make up about half of victims, according to the U.S. Department of State. Nationwide, it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are victims of trafficking. About 80% are female. In 2017, 8,524 human-trafficking cases were reported—more than double the number of cases reported in 2012.
Here are some recent efforts by the c-store industry to help fight the human-trafficking problem. …
Photo courtesy of Xavier Sotomeyer.