The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and National Association of Attorneys General Human Trafficking Committee Co-Chair Sean Reyes (R-UT) and committee member Maura Healey (D-MA) have announced a new initiative to help combat human trafficking in the United States. Working alongside the attorneys general, NBWA will offer awareness training to the more than 140,000 beer distribution employees in the U.S. to help them recognize and report signs of human trafficking.
The launch of the Distributors Against Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative coincides with the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30.
“America’s beer distributors are in every community across the country,” said Craig Purser, NBWA president and CEO. “These men and women not only live and serve in the communities where they work, but they visit 640,000 licensed retail locations from coast to coast. Distributors are uniquely positioned to help fight this heinous crime given their level of access in locations often unseen by the public. NBWA and our members are proud to work alongside Attorneys General Healey and Reyes to identify criminal traffickers and, ultimately, we hope to help save lives.”
To help distributors understand human trafficking, identify the signs and respond if they suspect exploitation is taking place, NBWA partnered with Healey, Reyes and Camila Zolfaghari, executive director of Street Grace and a former human trafficking prosecutor, to produce an awareness training video.
“The sad truth is human trafficking is a fast-growing criminal industry, and it happens in every community across the country,” said Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General. “Businesses can play a critical role in helping the U.S. fight and end this crime. As a member of the NAAG Human Trafficking Committee, we are always looking for new partnerships and collaborations that help us to eliminate exploitation while protecting victims and survivors. I am thrilled to see NBWA stepping up to the challenge, and I look forward to combatting human trafficking together.”
Through NBWA’s human trafficking initiative, beer distributors will provide awareness training sessions to employees to recognize possible signs of exploitation, including common red flags and behaviors associated with human trafficking. Distributors will also be equipped with contact information to alert authorities if they spot suspicious behaviors.
“Human trafficking is an urgent human rights issue,” said Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General. “Through this new partnership, beer distributors can be an extra set of eyes and ears on the ground by being knowledgeable and aware of the signs of human trafficking. I am grateful for the role beer distributors play in communities across the country and for being a part of this critical fight. Together, I know that we can end human trafficking and save lives.”
Human trafficking continues to be a major issue in the United States. In fact, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18, and human trafficking is one of the most horrific ways children are sexually exploited. Annually, The International Labour Organization found that human trafficking is a $150 billion illegal industry, and $99 billion comes specifically from sex trafficking.
For more information visit www.nbwa.org.