More health care practitioner professions to require human traff - FOX34 Lubbock

More health care practitioner professions to require human trafficking prevention training

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Human trafficking across the state is on the rise, including right here in Lubbock. Legislators passed a new House Bill last session now requiring more health care professions to take a training course before renewing their license.

More than 68,000 people must take the prevention training course. It's among health care practitioners, including athletic trainers in our schools. 

"Because we are healthcare workers who work one-on-one with students at this age group then we're one who could be predisposed to those kids coming through here we can identify signs," Shelly Macias, Director of Sports Medicine for Lubbock ISD, said. 

She says it's another way for her to catch the warning signs. 

"We're just another set of eyes for these kids that are exposed to these situations -- who are in trafficking, have been through trafficking," she said. 

However, the red flags of human trafficking may sometimes be mistaken for drug abuse or domestic violence and unfortunately could be recognized too late. 

"And often times you don't see until afterward, almost -- and it's a gross comparison -- but almost to a suicide," an investigator with the Lubbock Police Department said. 

He says this prevention course could urge victims to seek help through someone they trust. 

At the United Way Campaign Kickoff, Frenship ISD Superintendent Dr. Michelle McCord attributed this kind of training to gaining the trust that's needed for victims to come forward. 

"It didn't happen in a faraway place. It happened here and it happened to one of our students. She was 14 years old when that happened," she said. "Thankfully, because she trusted in the counselors, and thankfully because of the United Way and the training that the Voice of Hope provided for me and then I provided to our staff, that young lady made an outcry, and she was swept up and helped."

Macias believes more will follow suit. 

"We've got nurses in the schools that help as well, but sometimes the sports injuries gives them a reason to come in here. Kids just want reasons to tell their story."

The approved sex trafficking prevention training course will go into affect Sept. 1. This also allows these professions to point victims to advocacy centers like Voice of Hope.



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