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Casey’s Partners With National Program to Combat Human Trafficking

By Jason Van Arkel, May 13, 2019

Casey’s General Stores, along with the Kum & Go convenience store chain, have joined a partnership with the Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT) program, in an effort to raise awareness against human trafficking, and to help victims of human trafficking escape. CSAT is a program started by In Our Backyard, a non-profit group dedicated to anti-trafficking work.

Statistics show human trafficking is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world, and is growing faster than any other. Casey’s spokesman Mike Richardson says it seemed only natural for both Casey’s and Kum & Go to join the fight against trafficking, especially with other convenience stores nationwide also getting involved.

“They were really getting behind it,” Richardson said, ” and I think we all felt, as we read through it and looked at it, that’s it’s such a big problem and really a horrific situation for a lot of people.” Richardson noted that, because of the number of convenience stores in the country and the late hours they usually maintain, chains like Casey’s can be likely places for traffickers and their victims to pass through.

“Overall, there’s something like 141,000 convenience stores across the country,” he said. “Many times, these people might be traveling later in the evening, and many, many of them are open 24 hours a day. It just seemed like a good fit for us to do something, and be able to help out with such a bad deal.”

As part of the partnership, Casey’s and Kum & Go stores are placing stickers in their restroom stalls with numbers for victims to call or text the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Richardson pointed out that a restroom stall can be an opportunity to communicate with a potential trafficking victim.

“To be able to put things up in the restrooms where, might be the only opportunity some of these people have to really be alone for a little bit,” said Richardson. “To have the numbers posted in there, even if they didn’t have a cell phone with them, they might be able to take down that number, write it on something and be able to have it at one point.”

Casey’s employees are also currently undergoing training, and Richardson said they’ll learn to look for the signs that someone is a trafficking victim. “Things that would indicate maybe something’s going on, maybe a person looks a little fearful or anxious. They won’t look at you, they avoid (eye) contact. Could be malnourished, or signs of abuse. Even that they’re not able to speak for themselves, that the person they’re with is doing all the talking, or they can’t buy anything for themselves.” Richardson also stressed that employees are being trained not to confront anyone who seems suspicious, but instead to call authorities and the National Human Trafficking Hotline as soon as they leave the store.

Finally, Richardson said he hopes partnering with the CSAT program will raise awareness, and enable other people to act as well.

“I think we’ve heard it on other things: if we see something, say something,” he said. “We don’t know when we might save somebody from a miserable existence.”

 

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