Updated: Nov 17, 2015 6:37 PM EST
By Gabrielle Shirley, Reporter
LEE COUNTY, FL -The nursing staff within the Lee County School District learned a lesson in human trafficking.
A local nonprofit organization, Wings of Shelter, conducted a presentation in front of nearly 50 healthcare professionals on Tuesday. They taught them how to identify the signs of trafficking and how to treat the young victims they find in the schools.
Wings of Shelter told NBC2 that Florida has the third highest number of child sex trafficking cases in the nation. They said between 100,000 to 300,000 girls under the age of 18 are victims in the United States every year. About 75 victims have been treated by Wings of Shelter over the past seven years.
The founder of the nonprofit, Sally Senitz, said the majority of these victims will visit a school nurse due to an injury sustained while trafficking. She said she wants the nurses to be able to spot the signs and ask the questions that could save these victims.
Senitz said the three most obvious physical signs are long sleeves, tattoos, and malnourishment.
The long sleeves are used to hide the marks of abuse and the tattoos may represent ownership in the form of a man's name or a Chinese symbol.
"We educated them about the kind of responses these children may give as far as post-traumatic stress disorder and highly exaggerated emotional kind of challenges that they might see at school," said Senitz.
If you suspect a child may be a victim of human trafficking, you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or Wings of Shelter at 239-340-2980. You can also volunteer with the Wings of Shelter organization.
View the original story here.