The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) is an impressive trade org. Here’s another example. As January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, NBWA announced that its Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative has trained 6,000 beer distribution employees to safely spot and report the signs of human trafficking. NBWA is well on its way to reaching its goal of training 10,000 employees by the end of 2021.
“When we began the Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative in July 2020, distributors were eager to get involved,” said Craig Purser, NBWA president and CEO. “These local business leaders instantly recognized the fight against human trafficking as one where they could play a valuable role.”
Beer distributors are uniquely positioned to aid state and federal law enforcement agencies in spotting signs of human trafficking due to their unique access to locations often unseen by the public as they visit around 600,000 licensed retail locations across the country.
“Adding beer distributors to the fight against human trafficking is one of the most strategic partnerships I’ve encountered,” said Camila Zolfaghari, executive director at the anti-human trafficking nonprofit Street Grace and a former human trafficking prosecutor. Zolfaghari noted beer distribution employees’ regular behind-the-scenes access to bars, restaurants, hotels, truck stops, convenience stores and more.
The Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative centers around a short training video featuring Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and nonprofit Street Grace, along with resources like tip cards and truck signs that outline common red flags and behaviors associated with human trafficking.
“Beer distributors play an important role in communities across the country and in this critical fight. They step up when we need them and now they have joined us as extra eyes and ears on the ground to help identify signs of human trafficking,” said Sean Reyes, Utah Attorney General.
While human trafficking may seem like a crime that only occurs in big cities and faraway countries, many are surprised to learn that human trafficking continues to be a major issue in neighborhoods throughout the United States with hundreds of thousands of victims being identified nationwide.
“We know that human trafficking happens in every community across the country,” said Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General. “When more of us are aware of the signs of human trafficking, traffickers have fewer places to hide. This partnership with beer distributors will help us eliminate exploitation while protecting victims and survivors.”
“As the fourth generation in my family’s business, I know that beer distributors are passionate about the people in our local communities,” said Caylin Wiebe with Del Papa Distributing Company, Inc., in Texas. “Our company alone has educated our nearly 350 employees. Together with beer distributors from all over the country, we are confident we are going to save lives.”