The Springfield community continues the fight against human trafficking

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Kum and Go recently announced its commitment to help end human trafficking. 

“Half of the american population goes into a convenient store everyday, so it makes sense that this is a great place that convenient stores can be of help,” said Founder of In Our Backyard Nita Belles. “They actually have an opportunity to be heroes in this fight.” 

In Our Backyard offers training to convenient store employees on how to recognize and safely report human trafficking. 

“When somebody that’s worked at a convenient store for awhile sees the training it automatically brings to mind situations that they have already seen,” said Belles.

Belles said the fight against human trafficking takes an entire community.

“All that traffickers ask is that we don’t realize that it’s happening and don’t talk about it,” said Belles. “Because, if we do that they can go about their business and keep trafficking.” 

Freedom stickers will be placed in all Kum and Go restrooms. 

Dawn Day of Mercy said our local hospitals are also safe spaces for victims and survivors. 

“We focus our education at Mercy currently on the emergency room staff and labor and delivery staff,” said Day. “Educating individuals on what that looks like in the emergency room and what type of presentation it can take.” 

Day said Mercy is also in the process of developing a silent notification system. 

This would give victims who might be with their abuser the opportunity to reach out to a staff member silently.

Note: According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

If you believe you are a victim of human trafficking or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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