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Omaha Magazine

Taking a Stand Against Human Trafficking

Jul 18, 2019 10:27AM ● By Patrick McGee

Omaha-based Arrow Stage Lines is in the business of giving back. With a little over 650 employees and 250 vehicles, Arrow’s success demonstrates that community involvement and charity pay dividends. Arrow COO Luke Busskohl said that this family-owned business’ success is, in part, due to their dedication to local and international humanitarian issues. That’s why they devised the Hero Project.

It has been in existence for several years, helping open clean-water wells for communities in need in Africa and South America. Busskohl said in prior years Arrow has donated $15,000-$20,000 per year to this cause, or approximately one dollar per trip on an Arrow motor coach. In 2019 Arrow began shifting its charitable approach from clean water to raising awareness and establishing protocols to stop human trafficking, an issue that effects transportation providers such as Arrow directly.

Busskohl said Arrow has a duty to combat human trafficking. Arrow’s buses are involved in transportation and charters, and they frequent the types of places where human trafficking is most likely to occur—bus stops, shopping malls, and large parking lots. Traffickers themselves may use buses. Furthermore, buses travel between cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Kansas City, and Omaha. This increases the likelihood that Arrow buses will come into contact with traffickers or victims. Because of their exposure to potential risk factors, Arrow employees, especially drivers, undergo specialized training to identify human trafficking. They are taught what to look for and how to report the findings.

Arrow opted into this training program as a way to give something back to the community. The training is mandatory for Arrow employees. Busskohl and Arrow feel strongly about educating the employees on this issue. There are also non-traditional benefits to providing this training.

Fighting for different causes such as human trafficking and clean water does not turn a direct profit, Busskohl said. “We want to do this to make a difference,” he explained. “It is my conviction, and the conviction of my family.” A family-owned and operated business, Arrow is not beholden to the same cutthroat profiteering commonplace in publicly traded corporations. That is one reason Busskohl can more easily train employees to identify and report human trafficking.

There are benefits to Arrow’s ethical practices. Busskohl said the biggest benefit of the Hero Project (aside from the direct benefits to victims) is increased employee engagement. “People look to work for companies that are making a difference,” he said. “Working at Arrow gives people the opportunity to say, ‘we have a part in building wells in Africa or ending sex trafficking in the U.S.’”

Customers and employees appreciate this intangible value. Ethical business has benefits beyond money. Customers benefit from knowing that their payment, in part, goes to a good cause. Employees feel more validated by their work if it is for a good cause. Contributing to solutions, such as Arrow has done with clean water and human trafficking, also makes the world safer and holds competitors accountable to do the same.

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This article was printed in the June 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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