Four state Attorneys General shared insights on human trafficking awareness with beer distributors
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – On March 10, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) hosted a webinar featuring a bipartisan panel of state Attorneys General from across the country as part of its Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative.
The webinar emphasized the pervasive issue of human trafficking across the U.S. and illustrated how beer distributors could best be of service in the fight against it. Camila Zolfaghari, executive director of Street Grace, a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating human trafficking, moderated the discussion, which featured Attorney General Chris Carr of Georgia; Attorney General Aaron Ford of Nevada; Attorney General Eric Schmitt of Missouri; and Attorney General Phil Weiser of Colorado.
Each of the Attorneys General shared valuable insights into how human trafficking manifests in their state, the measures their offices have taken to combat this heinous crime and the critical role that beer distributors can play in fighting human trafficking locally.
The four Attorneys General represent a cross-section of the American population, highlighting the universal need to address human trafficking, no matter your politics. As Attorney General Chris Carr (GA) put it: “[Human trafficking] is a non-partisan issue. This is just a human issue. And I am so grateful for [beer distributors] doing [anti-human trafficking awareness] and being in the fight.”
Battling the misconception that human trafficking only occurs in large metropolitan cities is a significant obstacle in fighting this heinous crime. In a largely rural state like Missouri, Attorney General Eric Schmitt still aims to make his state “completely inhospitable to human trafficking.” The reality is, human trafficking happens across all geographies. “This doesn’t happen in one county in isolation, it doesn’t happen in one state in isolation, and so I think more Attorneys General are focusing on [human trafficking] with partnerships like [beer distributors]. This is going to become a more nationally coordinated effort,” commented General Schmitt.
Beer distributors are uniquely positioned to aid law enforcement agencies in spotting signs of human trafficking, an issue that echoed during the discussion between the Attorneys General. “As beer distributors, you actually move through back rooms and unseen spaces. You have access to areas the public often does not, and these areas are often where human trafficking occurs,” said Attorney General Aaron Ford (NV). “By learning the warning signs associated with human trafficking, distributors can be an extra set of eyes and an extra set of ears on the ground, and we recognize that in our fight against human trafficking.”
The Attorneys General made it clear that unified efforts are the only way forward in eradicating human trafficking. “There is an opportunity around collaboration and communication. And what the National Beer Wholesalers are doing here, it’s powerful because it is a communication tool, and we need more of it,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser (CO). “So getting the word out, communication, building collaborative relationships, that’s what we have to keep doing. We are making progress, but we’ve got more work to do.”
NBWA launched the Distributors Against Human Trafficking initiative in July 2020 to train America’s more than 140,000 beer distribution employees to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking and fight human trafficking in their communities. The program has gained incredible traction among beer distributors nationwide; to date, more than 150 companies across 38 states have trained their employees.
“I am proud of the job our distributors are doing across the U.S., and we look forward to continuing our partnership with [Attorneys General] in fighting this together,” reflected NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser.
The webinar recording can be viewed here.
The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,000 independent beer distributors who service every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Licensed at the federal and state levels, beer distributors get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer or importer to stores, restaurants and other licensed retail accounts through a transparent and accountable regulatory system. Distributors build brands of all sizes – from familiar domestic beers to new startup labels and imports from around the world – and generate enormous consumer choice while supporting more than 140,000 quality jobs in their home communities. Beer distributors work locally to keep communities safe by sponsoring programs to promote responsible consumption, combat drunk driving and reduce underage drinking.