The California Independent Oil Marketers Association (CIOMA) is proud to announce its partnership with In our Backyard™ (IOB) through their flagship program, Convenience Stores Against Trafficking (CSAT). By promoting January as National Trafficking Awareness Month, CIOMA enters this new partnership to help empower California’sconvenience industry as a leader in combatting human trafficking across the state.

With over 11,000 storefronts along California’s roads and highways, convenience stores are in a unique position to stop trafficking on the front lines. CSAT will bring the latest resources and in-depth employee training in identifying and reporting trafficking to CIOMA’s extensive network of retail operators. By providing real-world training and in-store resources for victims, CIOMA and CSAT hope to provide victims pathways and opportunities to freedom from their captors that would not otherwise exist.

“We are very excited to launch our new partnership with CIOMA,” said In Our Backyard™ founder, Nita Belles. “Awareness is the critical first step in ending trafficking, and now CIOMA joins our goal of engaging the entire convenience store industry to promote safety and support for their communities by becoming members of CSAT.”

“With January being recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, CIOMA could not be more proud of this partnership and the commitment to eradicate trafficking from our communities for good,” said Ryan Hanretty, Executive Director of CIOMA. “These small, family- and minority-owned businesses are engrained in their communities and truly care about their neighbors. Our members are ready to lead the fight against the heinous crime of human trafficking.”

In Our Backyard, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, links convenience stores and other rest stops across America in the fight against human trafficking through awareness, action, education, legislative advising, and advocacy for survivors. Its newest program, Convenience Stores Against Trafficking, raises public awareness of the issue in communities across America. CSAT engages convenience stores as trafficking prevention centers in local communities by training employees to recognize and report human trafficking.

CIOMA is the industry’s statewide trade association representing the needs of independent wholesale and retail marketers of gasoline, diesel, lubricating oils and other petroleum products; transporters of those products; and retail convenience store operators.