Town Pump Partners with Montana Department of Justice in Human Trafficking Awareness Poster Campaign
Attorney General Tim Fox announced today that Town Pump has joined with the Montana Department of Justice to help raise awareness of human trafficking in the state. Beginning this month, all Town Pump convenience stores and casinos will display the poster created by the Montana Department of Justice as a requirement of HB 488.
“I want to thank Mike Kenneally and his team at Town Pump for joining us in fighting this form of modern-day slavery,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Their commitment means an additional 210 locations where the traveling public will see the poster and become aware of human trafficking and resources available for those who need help. We appreciate Town Pump’s partnership, and hope that other businesses will follow their lead in partnering with us in our public awareness campaign.”
Per legislative mandate, the poster is written in both English and Spanish and displays a QR code and a toll-free help-line number administered by the Polaris Project, a national non-profit working to end human trafficking. The Montana Department of Transportation has posted them at all rest stops along highways statewide, and coordinated posting in city park rest areas in communities across Montana. Additionally, nearly 2,000 posters were distributed at the Montana Board of Crime Control’s Conference last fall for display across the state, and the Attorney General’s Office is in the process of determining which types of businesses will receive the poster.
Mike Kenneally, President of Town Pump Corporation said, “Town Pump cares about the communities we do business in, and we’re committed to helping make them safer places to live, particularly for Montana’s young people. We’re very appreciative to have been asked to partner with the Department of Justice in its efforts to stop human trafficking in Montana.”
Last year, the Montana legislature strengthened Montana’s laws against human trafficking by passing HB 478 (Laszloffy – Billings). The Attorney General’s Office supported those measures. In addition, Montana has several laws related to human trafficking. They include those that protect people against being trafficked for involuntary servitude, sexual servitude or abuse of a child, and promoting prostitution. HB 488 (Gursky – Missoula) was passed, which specified the human trafficking poster’s wording and other key elements.
Just last month, seven people were arrested in Missoula on felony child sex abuse charges. Their arrests were the result of a two-day sting, in which members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and several law enforcement agencies posted ads on Craigslist and Backpage, posing as an adult female willing to prostitute a 12-year-old female relative.
Attorney General Fox added, “I encourage other Montana businesses to follow Town Pump’s lead and display the poster in their locations. This is a good time to get involved, as January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.” Posters can be printed for free from the department’s website at www.doj.mt.gov; hard copies can be requested by calling the Attorney General’s Office at (406) 444-2026.
Human trafficking has been identified as a $32 billion/ year industry and is the fastest growing element of the criminal industry in the world.