Alcohol and Tobacco Control News Releases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2021
Missourians may see posters calling attention to the issue of human trafficking and urging people to report tips and victims to seek help
The Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control is applauding the Missouri Beer Wholesalers Association for its recent efforts to combat human trafficking. The wholesalers’ campaign includes educating employees on recognizing the signs of human trafficking and publicizing the national human trafficking hotline with posters on delivery vehicles. The hotline number is 1-888-373-7888 and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“We are very appreciative of the Missouri Beer Wholesalers Association for the work they’re doing to help get the human trafficking hotline number out to both victims and citizens who may have information to share about people being victimized,” ATC State Supervisor Dottie Taylor said. “The posters on the beer trucks are large and prominently displayed and can make a difference in the battle to free people being victimized by traffickers.”
Interstate 44 has been identified as a central corridor in human trafficking.
The Missouri beer wholesalers launched the campaign in November 2020. In addition to the posters publicizing the 1-888-373-7888 human trafficking hotline, the wholesalers’ efforts include training from law enforcement on signs of human trafficking to look for and a review of human trafficking educational materials. Currently, five independent Missouri beer wholesalers have joined the effort – Grellner Sales & Service Inc., Lohr Distributing, H. W. Herrell Distributing Company, Heart of America Beverage Company and Grey Eagle Distributors. More are expected to join.
MBWA Executive Director Brad Bates said “I am very proud of my members for wanting to get involved and bringing awareness to this terrible issue. Missouri is on the frontline of this problem as I-44 is one of the main routes for human trafficking. We must become more aware of the problem.”
Human trafficking is a crime that involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.
Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime. ATC Supervisor Dottie Taylor encourages everyone to remember, “If you see something, say something. Saving just one victim makes it all worth it.”
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