The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) announced last week that the Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative trained 5,164 distribution employees during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January. The employees represent nearly 60 companies and far exceed NBWA’s initial goal to train 1,000 employees in January.
This continues the momentum across the country to train beer distribution employees to safely spot and report signs of human trafficking. To date, 119 companies in 37 states have joined the fight since the campaign launched in July.
“We are proud of our members’ commitment to the Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative,” said Craig Purser, NBWA president and CEO. “Beer distributors’ enthusiasm for this program gives hope that our collective efforts will have a tangible impact in the important fight against human trafficking in local communities.”
In order to become Distributors Against Human Trafficking certified, beer distributors must show a short training video to their staff and commit to including the training during employee onboarding. Distributors can also access valuable resources created by the NBWA to further educate their employees on how to recognize and report signs of human trafficking.
“Beer distributors are already in every neighborhood throughout the country,” said Patrick Blach, Blach Distributing Company president and NBWA chairman. “With this training, our team — and all who participate — will be better equipped with the knowledge and the resources they need to help fight against human trafficking at the local level.”
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Across the country, distributors have been moved to create localized programs to combat human trafficking in their areas. The Montana Beer and Wine Distributors Association recently collaborated with the LifeGuard Group, an organization that specializes in survivor support services for victims of human trafficking, to launch the Sentinel Project. Through this initiative, beer distributors throughout Montana will be equipped with robust resources to identify and report potential incidents of human trafficking on their routes.
“We want to applaud those distributors who have gone above and beyond in this effort, utilizing the resources provided by NBWA and building on them through their own initiatives,” said Tate Russell, Kentucky Eagle president and Distributors Against Human Trafficking Advisory Committee member. “Strategic partnerships at the local level can have a significant impact since their approach is even more tailored to fight human trafficking in that community.”
NBWA member Markstein Sales Co. is also providing personalized training, leveraging resources from both NBWA and New Day for Children, a nonprofit organization that provides support and assistance to American girls who have been affected by sex trafficking. California has consistently reported the highest human trafficking rates in the nation, with over 1,500 cases reported in 2019, underscoring the importance of this initiative.
“Whether people know it or not, human trafficking remains a serious issue in the United States,” Purser continued. “NBWA will continue to make our best effort to keep beer distributors vigilant in the fight against human trafficking and ensure they’re well positioned to help end this terrible crime in the communities they know so well.”