Indiana gas stations training staff to recognize human trafficking victims

(U.S. Air Force graphic)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana gas station owners are training staff to recognize and report patrons they believe are human trafficking victims.

The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association announced the initiative Wednesday at the Statehouse.

Advocates say convenience stores are a focus because they are visited by a wide cross-section of people.

Already employees at 500 stores have watched a training video. The gas station association hopes to enlist more.

Store clerks are taught to call a national human trafficking hotline when they see telltale signs: customers who won’t make eye contact, speak for themselves and are with someone who is controlling.

Often victims won’t be allowed purchase items themselves.

Participating stores are also putting up hotline stickers in restrooms — one of the few places victims can get a private moment.

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