DALLAS, Georgia – Convenience store employees throughout Georgia are being trained to recognize and safely report human trafficking situations as a part of a program announced by the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS).
The association is partnering with a national advocacy group, In Our Backyard, to create the Convenience Stores Against Trafficking program.
“Convenience stores serve half the U.S. population every day, and as community hubs, we have the opportunity to be a part of the solution to end human trafficking by learning to recognize the red flags, especially as Atlanta will host the 2019 Super Bowl,” said Angela Holland, president of GACS.
Nita Belles, executive director and founder of In Our Backyard, will be the keynote speaker for GACS’ Southern Convenience Store and Petroleum Show in the fall. An authority on the anti-human trafficking movement and author of two books on the subject, Belles is working with law enforcement, nonprofits, faith-based groups and businesses in Atlanta in preparation for In Our Backyard’s 10th annual operation.
“Convenience stores have been very supportive of our work for the past several years, and we are so thankful to GACS and all the retailers in Georgia who are making a commitment to stand against the atrocity of human trafficking,” said Belles.
In addition to GACS, the California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) announced its partnership with In our Backyard in January 2018 to help empower California's convenience industry as a leader in combatting human trafficking across the state.
NACS announced a partnership in July 2017 with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign, providing convenience retailers with access to NACS-branded DHS Blue Campaign training and awareness materials for download—including posters, handouts and other materials—free of charge.