Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide and some are forced into coerced labor in the backrooms of bars and restaurants, hidden away from the public.
To lend a hand, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) launched the Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative in July of 2020.
The goal is to train truck drivers for beer distributors to recognize signs of human trafficking.
So why have beer distributors been enlisted?
As part of their regular rounds beer deliverers have unique access to the back spaces of bars, restaurants, convenience stores, and gas stations, all across the country.
And as it turns out these locations are also rife with human trafficking victims forced to labor for free.
The most common strategy, according to the Mashed, “is to abuse the need of workers on H-2B visas to keep their job, thereby keeping them in the back of the house with no pay.”
By learning the warning signs, the nation’s 142,000 beer distribution employees, who service more than 640,000 retail accounts, can be an extra set of eyes and ears on the ground and help spot suspicious activity associated with human trafficking…
The NBWA’s 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.
Signs that could point to a human traffic victim include…
- Fearful, anxious, or submissive behavior
- Workers showing Poor hygiene, malnourishment, or fatigue
- Indications of physical or sexual abuse
- Persons who lack freedom of movement or seem heavily monitored
- Individuals who lack control over money, identification, or phone
- Someone who is dressed inappropriately for the climate or their age
- Areas that are suspiciously off limits or have locks
And on January 5 the NBWA announced that the 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.”
“Adding beer distributors to the fight against human trafficking is one of the most strategic partnerships I’ve encountered,” Camila Zolfaghari, executive director at the anti-human trafficking nonprofit Street Grace and a former human trafficking prosecutor added.
We applaud the National Beer Wholesalers Association for launching this important effort…