Chattanooga's Street Grace, a faith-based organization with a mission to end Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children throughout the U.S., has been tapped to lead the training for the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s more than 140,000 beer distribution employees in the U.S. to help them recognize and report signs of human trafficking.
NBWA and National Association of Attorneys General Human Trafficking Committee Co-Chair Sean Reyes and committee member Maura Healey recently announced the new initiative to help combat human trafficking in the U.S.
To help distributors understand human trafficking, identify the signs and respond if they suspect exploitation is taking place, NBWA partnered with Healy, Reyes and Camila Zolfaghari, executive director of Street Grace and a former human trafficking prosecutor, to produce a training video.
“Street Grace values collaboration with the business community, and we know there’s a real benefit of non-profit, business, and government working together,” said Bob Rodgers, president and CEO, Street Grace. “Camila’s leadership of this training video will impact tens of thousands of families by creating extra sets of eyes and ears with lifesaving knowledge about the signs of human trafficking in communities nationwide.”
The launch of this initiative coincided 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 each week. 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 Healy and Reyes to identify criminal traffickers and, ultimately, we hope to help save lives.”
Through NBWA’s human trafficking initiative, beer distributors will provide the Street Grace-led 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.
“We are excited about this collaboration between Georgia-based Street Grace, the National Association of Attorneys General and the National Beer Wholesalers Association,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “Training saves lives, especially targeted trainings for uniquely positioned groups like the beer distributors. Now we have even more eyes and ears helping us identify and report instances of human trafficking and rescue victims. Great work by all involved.”
Human trafficking continues to be a major issue in the United States. According to a study from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. Annually, The International Labour Organization found that human trafficking is a $150 billion illegal industry, and $99 billion comes specifically from sex trafficking.
Learn more about how businesses can partner with Street Grace to help end sex trafficking at streetgrace.org.