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WASHINGTON — Blue Campaign, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) national public awareness campaign, has released a new human-trafficking awareness guide to inform frontline convenience-retail employees about the crime and the indicators that may help them recognize a victim while on the job.
Because convenience stores are present in virtually all communities across the country, convenience retailers can play a significant role in combating human trafficking, the campaign said, adding that January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
“Employees of convenience stores across the country can help combat this crime by reviewing the Human Trafficking Awareness Guide for Convenience Retail Employees,” Blue Campaign said in a statement. “The guide covers key definitions, indicators of human trafficking that could be observed in a convenience-store setting, and example scenarios of human trafficking. It also highlights what to report and how to report suspected trafficking, with the ultimate goal of helping victims. The last page of the guide is a one-page employee resource that can be posted in break rooms or behind the counter for quick reference.”
Convenience retail employees are also encouraged to participate in #WearBlueDay on Jan. 11. Participants can raise awareness of human trafficking by taking a photo of themselves or others wearing blue clothing and then sharing on social media with the hashtag #WearBlueDay.
Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It is a crime that affects people of all ages, races, gender identities, ethnicities, nationalities, immigration statuses and socioeconomic classes. A c-store employee who suspects human trafficking is advised to follow their company’s reporting protocols or contact the Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
Blue Campaign is designed to educate the public, law enforcement, and other industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking, and how to appropriately respond to possible cases.
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