Whether you see it or not, human trafficking is happening right here in Central Illinois. In more specific, sex traffic has become an issue across the country, it’s when a person is seeking a favor or money in exchange for sex.

In many cases, it’s tough for people who interact with victims to know what’s happening.

“Patients don’t come forward and identify themselves as human trafficked,” said OSF Nurse Stefanie Clarke. “Wehave to pull that out of them and they have to be willing to seek help for it as well.”

There are red flags to look for, whether the patient is nervous or their story is inconsistent.

“The person who’s speaking may be speaking for them and being dominant in the conversation,” added Clarke.

Physicals say there are differences between a person who is being trafficked and one who is being sexually abused. Experts are keeping a close eye when patients come in for treatment.

“They may present physical or sexual abuse signs,” Clarke adds. “Then it’s our job to continue to ask questions leading to questions of human trafficking.”

Places like the Center For Prevention of Abuse and OSF are offering resources to keep not only the public aware, but also education to make sure teens don’t become a victim.

OSF has a built in screening tool in their electronic health medical record for all their sexual assaults that have come in. Physicians at OSF have also been trained by the Center for Prevention of Abuse to understand how to properly care for patients who have been sexually assaulted as well.