AUSTIN, TEXAS – Human trafficking is widely recognized as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with more than 40 million victims worldwide, according to the International Labor Organization. To make a difference, Austin Oral Surgery holds a series of professional education events each year to help dental professionals recognize the warning signs they may encounter when treating patients, as well as what to do. with this information to ensure the safety of their patients. The 2022 series of events culminated on November 9, 2022 at the annual Austin Oral Surgery Hygienists’ Night in Maggiano’s Little Italy, where approximately 140 Central Texas dental hygienists received essential training on this important issue.
“Several years ago, one of our oral surgery assistants was treating a patient and noticed something strange that could have been a warning sign of sex trafficking. Luckily, that was not the case, but it made us realize that we are in an ideal position to be able to see the warning signs in a way that the general public is not.Several warning signs can be found in the mouth.Dental professionals need training to properly identify them and seek help without putting their patients or themselves at risk,” explained Renee Dixon, Marketing Director of Austin Oral Surgery.
In addition to the training, Hygienists Night Out attendees received dinner, goody bags, continuing education credits and a presentation on “Manage Your Mind, or It Will Manage You,” by the motivational speaker and coach Machele Galloway Certified Living.
“Having a positive mindset is such an important thing. It can be the difference between success and failure in your personal and professional life, and it also goes with the whole theme of our event,” noted Dixon “The right mindset can give hope and inspire change.”
Along with the event, Austin Oral Surgery also raised $1,230 for Unbound Now and $1,400 for the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation, two nonprofit organizations committed to eliminating human trafficking. In addition, 30 participants expressed interest in volunteering for one of the non-profit organizations.
According to Unbound Now, human trafficking is “any time a person is coerced, tricked, or manipulated into providing sexual labor or services for someone else’s financial gain. Or, whenever a child is involved in a commercial sex act, whether or not there is someone directly forcing them to do it.
“A lot of people don’t really understand what human trafficking is. Most people think it’s something that’s happening far away and there’s not much we can do to change it. But human trafficking is happening here, right now, and we can make a huge difference, through education and empowerment,” said Sara Nellis, Early Intervention Director at Unbound Now. “I’m a survivor myself, so I can tell you firsthand how important this type of program is and how grateful we are to companies like Austin Oral Surgery, who partner with us.”
Nellis adds that while Unbound Now was founded in 2012, the Austin chapter is relatively new, so one of the most important things people can do to get involved is to let people know the chapter is open and ready. to help his community. Additionally, Nellis says the chapter needs volunteers, more program partners like Austin Oral Surgery, and referrals — both from potential donors and anyone who might benefit from Unbound Now’s services.
Austin Oral Surgery has been training dental professionals in this important subject since 2016. To date, the practice has helped train more than 2,500 dental professionals throughout Central Texas and raised over $30,000 for various organizations in non-profit, dedicated to the cause.
“Our next training event will be in the first quarter of 2023, and we urge all dental professionals who have not yet trained on this topic to join us,” Dixon said. “This is vital and important information that all dental professionals and the communities they serve can benefit from, so we want to make sure it is accessible to everyone. Human trafficking is a tragedy that affects people all over the world, and the best way to eradicate it is to fight it together.