INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. — Cenex Zip Trip is helping the fight against human trafficking by joining Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT).
The organization's nonprofit program In Our Backyard provides c-stores with employee training on how to prevent human trafficking, as well as materials displaying the National Human Trafficking hotline number to post in stores.
All Cenex Zip Trip employees are required to complete the training, the company said.
"This issue is more frequent and widespread than most people know," said Tabina Long, an administrator for Cenex Zip Trip. "Training store associates opens their eyes to the situation. Awareness is our biggest tool."
In Our Backyard also partners with the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association; Clark Brands LLC; the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; and NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, as Convenience Store News previously reported.
"Convenience store employees are the eyes and ears of their communities. They can spot victims of trafficking or traffickers and report them to the National Human Trafficking hotline," said Julianna Williams, program director for In Our Backyard. "The more we've engaged with convenience stores, the more we see the 'We're Not Just Convenience. We Care.' slogan ring true. C-store employees are involved in and care about their communities."
In addition to the chain's participation in CSAT, store managers are taking part in coalitions and conferences held by Truckers Against Trafficking, another anti-human trafficking organization.
"Store employees could be heroes by recognizing and preventing traffickers and the situation," Williams said. "Convenience store employees can help save lives."
Inver Grove Heights, Minn.-based CHS Inc. owns and operates 35 Cenex Zip Trip locations in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.