ANKENY and DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa convenience store operators Casey's General Stores and Kum & Go are setting aside retail rivalries to partner with Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT).
As part of the partnership, Casey's and Kum & Go will train employees and place informational stickers in their stores' bathroom stalls, reported KIMT3. The stickers will provide phone numbers for human trafficking victims to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
"Casey's is always looking for ways to support and improve our communities," stated Casey's CEO Terry Handley. "We recognize that we can play an important role in identifying and deterring human trafficking in our communities."
The CSAT program is an initiative of In Our Backyard and seeks to provide awareness, education and life-saving materials through thousands of locations across the country. NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, partnered with CAST in 2018, as Convenience Store News reported.
"Kum & Go is committed to improving our neighborhoods, and this partnership with CSAT is our most recent effort to make days better," said Kum & Go President Tanner Krause. "If we can help just one person as a result, everything we do is worth it."
Such partnerships allow c-stores to function as a collective neighborhood watch and safe haven in locations that are often open 24 hours a day, according to the report.
"Our hope is that an employee will trust their gut and make a phone call immediately after suspected traffickers and victims have left the store," says CSAT Program Director Juliana Williams. "That call can save a life and stop traffickers from exploiting more victims."
Ankeny-based Casey's operates more than 2,100 stores in 16 states, while Des Moines-based Kum & Go more than 400 stores across 11 states.