LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - In an effort to end what the Lubbock County Medical Society calls a hidden epidemic in Lubbock, it's requesting businesses join them in providing resources to the victims of the sex trafficking of minors.
"There's a problem with public education," Executive Director Juanema Christensen said. "People don't think there is any sex trafficking of minors in Lubbock and that it happens in large cities somewhere else but there really is a problem here."
Not only is the society working to educate its physicians in hospitals across the area about treating victims, it's giving businesses the chance to provide a way out of being trafficked with simple stickers.
The stickers with a National Trafficking Resource Center hotline number are to be placed in bathrooms and dressing facilities, a place where a victim may have a moment of privacy.
"It has the number so they can easily memorize it," Christensen said. "Then, if they get access to a phone, they can call this number for help. They aren't permanent. They are removable stickers so they won't damage a surface."
According to the society, last year 64 sex trafficking victims reached out for help from the Voice of Hope, a rape crisis center in Lubbock. Eleven of those were minors with ages ranging from 8 to 17 years old.
"It made me realize there are probably a lot more out there that need our assistance, that needs the public awareness so that people can identify them as someone that needs help," Christensen said.
The hope is the stickers will provide help to the victims but also that awareness to the community about the problem. The society is also teaming up with the Junior League of Lubbock to provide its first of many public education presentations.
That will be January 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Junior League of Lubbock Headquarters, 4205 84th Street in Lubbock. The free seminar will host speakers to discuss the issue, as well as protecting your child on social media.
To RSVP to the seminar, call 806-785-7917 or email Juanema@lcgcms.org
"We are working really hard to make sure Lubbock is a safe place for children and an unfriendly place for those who want to buy and sell children for the sex trade," Christensen said.
Businesses can fill out the form below to request stickers: