Medical professionals learn signs of sex trafficking

Published: Apr. 19, 2018 at 10:29 PM CDT
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Earlier this month, about 100 medical professionals signed up to do more when it comes to sex trafficking in the area.

Just like teaching health care professionals how to draw blood or take someone’s blood pressure, there’s a new tool being added medical professionals’ tool boxes thanks to a workshop held at Bellin College.

“There was a study done in 2015 that said 88 percent of human trafficking survivors came in contact with a medical professional at some point when they were in the life,” said Dawn Spang, outreach coordinator for Eye Heart World. It’s a non-profit organization that is dedicated to fighting sex trafficking through awareness, prevention and after care.

“We’ll see them on the front line,” said Mary Rolloff, Director of College Assessment at Bellin College. “We don’t know where they are going to come for help, but we know that they will be seen. If we see them and know what to look for, better the odds of getting them the assistance they need.”

Here are some signs to look for:

• Shy, don’t make eye contact or answer specific questions

• Domestic violence injuries

• Sexually transmitted diseases

• Unwanted pregnancies or complications due to self-performed abortions

• Inappropriate clothing

• Malnourishment or inappropriate diet

“All we want them to do, in their professional world, is try to get the girl and guy some help, and if they need extra help call in someone like myself if they want to make an official complaint,” said Sgt. Matthew Wilson with the Brown County Sheriff’s Department. “98 percent of my job is sex trafficking cases.”

“So the more medical professionals that can be aware of some of those signs and symptoms, the more chance they will be able to get some help,” said Spang.

“We need to put a stop to it,” said Rolloff. “We need to say enough is enough. We are going to address this.”

If you think someone is being trafficked, call the human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text ‘BE FREE’ to 233733. If you would like to talk to someone local, contact the Brown County Sheriff’s Office or Eye Heart World at

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