INDIANAPOLIS — Convenience store clerks in Indiana will be trained to fight human trafficking under the new "Convenience Stores Against Trafficking" program.
The program is the result of a partnership between the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA) and In Our Backyard, a national advocacy group.
The program seeks to raise awareness of human trafficking to both convenience store industry clerks and customers.
"Our stores are conveniently located to meet the needs of our friends, family and neighbors, but unfortunately they are also convenient to criminals who seek to exploit other human beings," said Scot Imus, executive director of IPCA. “From this day forward, additional resources will be deployed to help curtail the reprehensible practice of human trafficking.
"We believe we can make a difference, particularly here in Indianapolis where major sporting events are regularly held, such as this week’s Indianapolis 500," Imus continued. "Because we sell age-restricted products, our clerks already are regularly trained and now, with the help of Convenience Stores Against Trafficking, we will add another component to that training."
Juliana Williams, program director for In Our Backyard, was among those who attended a press conference May 23 at the Indianapolis Statehouse, alongside Imus, Denise Robinson from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, Representative Sally Siegrist (R-Lafayette), and Heather Meckes of Rushville, Ind.-based Herdrich Petroleum.
"The commitment to train their employees to watch for the signs of human trafficking and posting Freedom Stickers in restrooms creates a pathway to freedom for those who are being horrifically exploited," Williams said during the press conference. "This initiative will save lives."