Wisconsin C-store Industry Partnering With State Authorities to Combat Human Trafficking

COTTAGE GROVER, Wis. — The Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (WPMCA) is teaming up with state authorities to combat human trafficking.

The association is being joined by Attorney General Josh Kaul, the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) to increase understanding within the state's convenience store space.

"WPMCA is proud to partner with Department of Justice [DOJ], Department of Transportation [DOT], and DCF to help combat human trafficking in Wisconsin," said WPMCA Chairman Andrew Bowman of Stop-N-Go of Madison. "Our industry employs over 50,000 people and operates nearly 3,000 convenience stores across the state and we are constantly interacting with the motoring public. We are excited to join the fight to prevent this horrible crime."

The state agencies will provide WPMCA and its members with training and materials to raise awareness about human trafficking and what c-store managers and employees can do if trafficking is suspected.

"By identifying suspicious activity and reporting it to law enforcement, convenience store and gas station employees can help law enforcement fight human trafficking," said Kaul. "This partnership will help more people know the signs of human trafficking and what to do when they see those signs."

Partners will be available at WPMCA's annual conference and DCF will distribute materials at the WPMCA trade show. Seminars on recognizing and reporting human trafficking will also be held in four regions of Wisconsin with store owners and employees.

Information will include specific human trafficking indicators that could be seen in c-store and gas station settings, and how to report actionable leads to law enforcement. WPMCA will also provide its membership with electronic updates and information throughout 2020 to increase the industry’s overall understanding of human trafficking.

The partnership is being managed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association is dedicated to informing members on issues relevant to the industry and educating policymakers at the state and federal levels about the industry's needs. It advocates for members on all laws affecting the industry, including environmental regulations, tobacco and alcohol, recycling issues, food handling requirements, lottery sales, gift cards, health insurance, minimum wage, and many other issues.